India women’s cricket team took New Zealand close in the second T20I at Auckland but fell short on the last ball to concede the series. In a nervous finish to a low-scoring game, New Zealand women chased down the 136 run target on the last ball of the 20th over to take a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Playing their 100th T20I, India couldn’t make the strong start provided by Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues count. For the second game running, the duo emerged as the leading scorers as the rest of the side couldn’t trouble the scorers much. In fact, except the ODI opening pairing, no one reached double digits with India scoring 135 runs. Rodrigues top-scored with 72 runs – her highest scores in T20Is – and her fifth T20I fifty with Mandhana scoring 36 runs.
From a strong position after 10 overs, India women could only add 63 runs in the last 10 overs with 36 runs coming in the last five to take the side to 135/6 at the close of play.
In reply, Suzie Bates was the pick of the White Ferns batswomen with 62 runs from 52 balls. She and New Zealand captain Amy Satterthwaite stitched a 61 run partnership for the third wicket to all but take the game away from India.
Seeing how India are slipping in the middle, there is definitely a place for Mithali in the middle in T20s. After the tempo is set by Smriti, Jemimah & Harman, Mithali can ensure there is no disintegration after that.#INDWvsNZW
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) February 8, 2019
However, a defiant bowling effort late on allowed the Harmanpreet Kaur-captained India to produce a close finish. When Satterthwaite fell for 23 runs from 20 balls with the Kiwis 101/3, India tightened the flow of runs and it helped with Bates exiting to make it 118/4.
Deepti Sharma kept the nervy finish alive by conceding just five runs in the penultimate over as she posted figures of 0/19 from her four overs.
With New Zealand needing nine runs from six balls, Mansi Joshi was handed the responsibility of keeping India alive in the series. She started the final over by being spanked for a four by wicketkeeper Katey Martin. The boundary allowed the hosts to breathe easy but briefly.
The next ball, Joshi struck after cleaning up Martin. Needing five runs from four balls, New Zealand were helped ever so slightly by an overthrow run on the next delivery.
With the equation reading three runs from three balls, Hannah Rowe and Leigh Kasperek held their nerve to take a single on each delivery and complete the win.
The third and final match of the series will be played on Sunday in Hamilton.
Brief Scores: India women: 135 for 6 in 20 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 72, Smriti Mandhana 36; Roesemary Mair 2/17) lose to New Zealand Women: 136/6 in 20 overs (Suzie Bates 51, Radha Yadav 2/23) by 4-wickets.