India Women vs New Zealand Women 2nd ODI: Smriti Mandhana continued her red-hot form in limited-overs cricket as she single-handedly powered India Women’s Cricket team to a scintillating eight-wicket victory against New Zealand in the second ODI in Mount Maunganui. Mandhana played an unbeaten match-winning knock of 90* to extend her impressive run for women in blue. She was well supported by captain Mithali Raj, who scored 63* and knitted an unbeaten 136-run stand for the third wicket to give India a comfortable win.Also Read - Women's World Cup: I Have Not Really Thought About The Future, Says Mithali Raj
It was a massive win and most importantly, under new coach W.V. Raman, the Indian eves have come out all guns blazing to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. After the early loss of opener Jemimah Rodrigues (0) and Deepti Sharma (8), Smriti and Mithali resurrected the Indian run chase from 15 for 2. The 22-year-old Mandhana has been in excellent form in recent times and Tuesday’s half-century was her eighth in the last 10 ODI innings. On Tuesday, she took just 82 deliveries in her unbeaten knock of 90. Also Read - Virat Kohli Tweets Heartfelt Message to Mithali Raj and Co as India Bow Out of Women's World Cup, Says We are Proud of You
Raj, on the other hand, faced 111 deliveries in her sedate knock 63. But, she was a perfect counterfoil to the aggressive Mandhana. Raj completed the run chase in style with a six as India reached to 166 for 2 in 35.2 overs. Also Read - Sometimes an inch costs moments that takes decades to achieve: Sehwag On India's Women's WC Exit
“It feels great but I think our bowlers deserved the player of the match award more than me. I will give it away to our bowlers, they did a great job to restrict New Zealand on a good wicket,” Mandhana said in the post-match presentation.
“I am happy with the way the team is shaping up. I have always enjoyed batting in challenging conditions. It wasn’t easy, it required patience here. Smriti is in good form and somebody had to give her support,” Raj said.
India have now taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match contest, which is part of the ICC Women’s Championship series. The visiting side beat New Zealand in the first one-dayer by nine wickets at the same venue on January 24.
It was fitting revenge for the Indian team, which had lost the home leg of the ICC Women’s Championship series 1-2 to New Zealand during the last cycle that ran from 2014-2016. New Zealand are ranked second in the ICC Women’s Championship table and are guaranteed a direct entry into the 50-over World Cup being the hosts.
Earlier, Team India also won the first ODI against Kiwi women by 9 wickets at McLean Park, Napier. There as well, prolific opener Mandhana scored her fourth ODI hundred to script a clinical victory for India.
Led by veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami, Indian eves restricted White Ferns (New Zealand women’s Cricket team) to an ordinary score of 161 in the second encounter of three-ODI rubber. Captain Amy Satterthwaite (71) played a crucial knock for the hosts but failed to find any support from the other end.
India’s famed spin trio of – Ekta Bisht, Deepti Sharma and Poonam Yadav picked up two wickets each and never really allowed any partnership to prosper for the home side.
Mandhana (105) and the 18-year-old Rodrigues (81 not out) stitched together a record highest opening stand (by any pair) versus New Zealand to script a clinical win for the tourists.