When Anna Paterson was bowled by India spinner Sneh Rana on 6, Kiwis still needed 40 runs in 69 balls with 3 wickets in hand. New Zealand banked on Lea Kasperek who was batting on 15 and Maddy Green. Sneh Rana struck again, two overs later to remove Maddy Green. Lea Tahuhu got run out leaving New Zealand 114/9 in the next over. Though Kasperek remained unbeaten on 21, New Zealand went on to open their tour, with a 17 run defeat.

However, the morning didn’t predict this result. Winning the toss skipper Mithali Raj decided to bat first on the pitch that turned to be slow. Kiwi attack comprised Lea Tahuhu and Sophie Devine used the moisture of the early hours to keep the Indian openers on t0 their toes. Both of the batters were beaten several times and Punam Raut was first to depart of Tahuhu. Smriti Mandhana who had a good series with the bat in England, followed her senior partner, leaving India 38/2 in the 12th over.

Mithali Raj though hit a couple of fours became the first victim Lea Kasperek. She mistimed a full toss to short mid-wicket where Katie Perkins pulled off a stunner. Lea Tahuhu’s two spells of 2/17 in 7 overs pushed India on the back-foot. Indian batting struggled to recover from their early setbacks. Tahuhu was joined by Kiwi spin bowling attack, which had many varieties in their arsenal. Morna Nielson 3/22 and Kasperek reduced India to 87/8 in the 30th over.

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While Suzie Bates was expecting her bowlers to wrap the Indian batting within 100, Indian pacer Jhulan Goswami rose to the occasion. She came to bat after the fall of Harmanpreet Kaur and had survived the Kiwi bowling attack till then. After the fall of Bisht, Goswami decided to take the attack to the opposition. She started with a four to Nielson to dip mid-wicket boundary and took the score to 91. Debutant Ravi Kalpana was instructed to support Goswami and she did her part for another couple of over.

However, in the meantime, Jhulan with her doubles and singles helped her team to go past the 100 runs mark. Jhulan needed to put some more runs to defend. The only six came from the baled of Jhulan when she made room to hit Sophie Devine over long-on. Jhulan was on 31 off 47 balls and it was Rajeswari Gayakwad who helped Jhulan to score her first half-century in ODI. Her knock of unbeaten 3 from 28 balls gave Jhulan the opportunity to go for her half-century.

Jhulan Goswami reached to her maiden half-century by sending a ball in the mid-wicket boundary of the bowling off Kasperek. two balls later she replicated the same thing to take the score to 141. Before getting out to Lea Tahuhu she scored 57 with 6 fours and a six. Her innings provided India with some runs so that their bowlers could defend that.

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Chasing 142, Kiwi’s were reduced to 45/4 inside 20 overs. Though SophieDevine tried her best it was never enough. Only three New Zealand batters were able to reach to the two figure marks as  Indian spinners tighten their grip on a slow surface. Jhulan Goswami after her skill with the bat proved her worth with the ball. Her figure of 1/25 in 10 overs played its part to push back the pressure on the Kiwis. She was adjudged player of the match for her all-round show.

Brief Score :

India: 142/10 (Jhulan Goswami 57, Lea Tahuhu 3/25) beat New Zealand 125/10 (Suzie Bates 28, Sneh Rana 3/26) by 17 runs.

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