On their June-July 2015 India tour, New Zealand women proved themselves as a better team on performance despite losing the 5-match ODI series. In the ensuing 3-match T-20 series, which concluded in Bangalore on Wednesday July 15, India managed to eke out a consolation victory after being soundly trounced in the first two matches. Interestingly, out of 8 matches of ODI and T-20 taken together, 3 out of India’s 4 victories came from chasing the target. The first ODI was the only exception, where New Zealand lost in the 126-run chase, thanks to a fine bowling performances from Sneh Rana, Ekta Bisht and Harmanpreet Kaur. At the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore yesterday, Mithali Raj did not play and Jhulan Goswami deputized for her. Goswami got lucky with the coin toss and chose to field. New Zealand began very well and lost their second wicket, when the rate of scoring had already zoomed to 10 an over. The swashbuckling Sophie Devine had departed when the score reached 59/2 in 5.3 overs. With Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite still around, the Kiwi women looked dangerous. But India’s bowlers struck soon and removed Bates and Satterthwaite in quick succession. From 76/3 in the 9th over, New Zealand collapsed to Indian spinners and finished their 20 overs at 126/8. Coming on to chase 127 for victory India lost Smriti Mandhana in the first over. But Vellaswamy Vanitha, Veda Krishnamurthy and Anuja Patil ensured a 3-wicket win for India with 6 balls remaining.
Mithali Raj couldn’t play the third T-20 game and Jhulan Goswami took the reins of captaincy. After winning the toss, Goswami preferred to chase. India had lost the first two matches, when they batted first and therefore Goswami didn’t want to bat first. As New Zealand’s top order began hitting, Goswami and her colleagues would have started worrying. Suzie Bates was merciless and so were Rachel Priest and Sophine Devine. Though Priest fell after scoring 14 off 5 balls, Bates and Devine carried on furiously. But when, Rajeshwari Gayakwad dismissed Devine in 6th over and Poonam Yadav took out Bates in the 9th, the downslide began for New Zealand. Among themselves, Rajeshwari, Poonam and Exta Bisht took 7 out of 8 New Zealand wickets. Despite Bates 27-ball 34, the visitors collapsed from 76/2 in the 9th over to 126/8 in the 20th.
Given their batting vulnerability, even the 127-run victory target looked difficult and India began the chase by losing Smiriti Mandhana in the first over itself. However, Vanitha and Latika Kumari batted sensibly and carried the score to 50, before India suffered a jolt. They lost Vanitha, Latika and Harmanpreet in a space of 23 runs to totter at 73/4 in 10 overs. However, Veda Krishnamurthy and Anuja Patil took control at this point with some sustained hitting and despite getting out, the two women paved the way for India’s 3-wicket victory in the end. Krishnamurthy blasted six fours to finish with a 19-ball 34 and Anuja’s 22 came off 23 balls. The two had carried India to safety, before the tail-enders finished the job.