The Indian women cricket team suffered a loss by two runs in the third and final T20I against New Zealand in Hamilton on Sunday to return with a 3-0 series defeat in the hands of the hosts.
Opening batswoman Smriti Mandhana’s career-best knock of 86 from 52 balls went in vain as the visitors, who were playing for pride having already lost the series, failed to build on her knock to lose the match by a small margin. Mandhana notched up her eight T20I half-century and second of the series as she dominated against New Zealand bowlers yet again.
Former captain Mithali Raj, who was named in the Playing XI in the Hamilton T20I, made 24 not out but failure to hit a four in her final delivery saw the visitors returning home with a cleansweep defeat in the series. Chasing 162, India needed 16 runs from the final over for a win but fell short of two runs.
India started the chase well, reaching 92/2 at the halfway stage but failed to force the pace as they ended their innings at 159/4.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who put up just two runs, said after the match, “We are disappointed to lose the series like this, we could have done better. We have a lot of work to do. In T20 Internationals we need to make improvements in the final 10-over batting. More importantly, we need to sort out the batting order. But there are positives from this series like the batting of Smirti and Jemimah as well as the performance of bowlers.”
Hosts New Zealand had won the toss and opted to bat before Sophie Devine and Amy Satterthwaite put up a 71-run stand for the third wicket. The White Ferns suffered a batting collapse after Devine, who dominated against the Indian bowlers on Sunday, got dismissed in the 17th over. From 140 for 2, New Zealand ended their innings at 161 for 7.
New Zealand Women: 161 for 7 from 20 overs (Sophie Devine 72, Amy Satterthwaite 31; Deepti Sharma 2/28).
India Women: 159 for 4 from 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 86; Sophie Devine 2/21).