Harmanpreet Kaur’s 51-ball carnage was the highlight as India beat New Zealand by 34 runs to get off to a flier in the 2018 World T20. The Indian captain smashed 103 runs, hitting 8 fours and 7 sixes and became the first Indian to hit a T20I century. She is also only the third to do so overall and the century, which came in 39 balls, is also the third fastest in the shortest format of the game. Her innings propelled India to 194/5. In reply, New Zealand managed 160/9 in their 20 overs.
India batted first after winning the toss in Guyana. Openers Smriti Mandhana and Taniya Bhatia were dismissed early as New Zealand dominated the powerplay overs. Harmanpreet came to the crease after the dismissal of debutant Dayalan Hemalatha.
The 29-year-old was slow in the early stages of her innings, scoring just five runs off the first 13 balls. She also seemed to be struggling with a fitness issue, even needing the physio’s help after going down in the 11th over.
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She recovered, though and got going in the 13th over, after which New Zealand were left with no option but to stand and watched as the ball sailed to the stands in regular intervals. Harmanpreet and Rodrigues ended up sharing a partnership of 123, which is the highest for India for any wicket in the shortest format of the game.
Openers Suzie Bates and Anna Peterson got New Zealand off to a strong start with a 52-run opening partnership. But that was pretty much the only period when the White Ferns seemed to be in the chase. While Peterson was dismissed by Hemalatha for India’s first breakthrough, Bates continued to bat fluently.
However, Bates, who became the highest run-getter in T20 Internationals, could not find support at the other end as New Zealand were reduced to 93 for four in the 13th over.
India got the big wicket of Bates when she played Arundhati Reddy’s low full-toss to the backward point fielder. Bates struck eight boundaries during her stay in the middle.
The contest was as good as over for New Zealand after Bates’ dismissal and India kept up the pressure on their opponents.
Hemalatha and Poonam Yadav finsihed with three wickets apiece for India, and there were two for Radha Yadav.
(with PTI inputs)