In the first T20 game of the 3-match series on July 11, 2015, India batted first and finished at 125 all out in the 20th over. This left the New Zealanders a victory target of 126 runs. The total was poor from T20 standards but India succeeded in removing Rachel Priest in the first over and probably nursed a winning ambition. What followed next could not have been foreseen by them. It was raw woman power at its best, when New Zealand one-drop batswoman Sophie Devine took to the crease after the fall of Priest’s wicket in the first over. What Sophie Devine did took the breath of the Indians. In her brief 22-ball stay, Devine struck 5 fours and 8 sixes in piling up 70 runs. In doing so, Devine broke the record for the fastest fifty in women’s T20 matches. She reached the half century mark in 18 balls to break Deandra Dottin’s record of a 22-ball fifty against Australia at Taunton in 2009. Devine ended with a strike-rate of 318.18 and shared an 89-run second-wicket partnership with Amy Satterthwaite. Devine’s effort culminated in the decisive win for New Zealand in the 13th over that left the Indians shell-shocked.
Put into bat first by New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine, India began well with the first-wicket stand of 41 in 4.5 overs between Vellaswamy Vanitha and captain Mithali Raj. But it was Raj, who dominated the stand with a whirlwind 35 off 23 balls studded with 6 fours. Vanitha made just 8 before she fell as an LBW victim to Morna Nielsen in the fifth over. India also lost Smiriti Mandhana soon, when she fell as another LBW victim in the sixth over. But when Raj was unfortunately run out in the ninth over, Indian batting began to collapse. Leigh Kasperek and Kate Broadmore began taking wickets at regular intervals and from what could be considered as a good opening, Indians were reduced to 85/7 by the 14th over. The eighth wicket partnership of 27 runs between Sneh Rana and Sushma Verma helped India cross 100 mark and the innings folded at 125 all out in the 20th over.
For New Zealand, chasing 126 was not a great task but they lost Rachel Priest in the first over, when she nicked a ball from Jhulan Goswami in the keeper’s hands. That was the only cheap wicket that India got on Saturday because afterwards, skipper Devine and Amy Satterthwaite brought the score to within touching distance of the victory target. Devine was in devastating form as she raced to the fastest international T20 half century in just 18 balls to break the 6-year old record of Deandra Dottin of the West Indies that she created against Australia by scoring 50 runs in 22 balls. Devine’s wicket was finally taken by Rajeshwari Gaekwad but she had already compiled 70 off 22 balls with her explosive batting. Devine and Satterthwaite added 89 for the second wicket in less than 5 overs translating into a stunning run-rate of over 19 per over. In less than 6 overs, New Zealand had reached 91/2 but the remaining 35 runs for victory took another 6 overs as there was no hurry. New Zealand finally reached the target to win by 8 wickets and 45 balls still remained in the match.
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