Bengaluru: The Indian women pulled off a 17-run win over New Zealand in the first encounter of their five-match ODI series at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday. In a low-scoring encounter, a late flourish by Jhulan Goswami took India to 142 in 44.3 overs before the bowlers, lead by Sneh Rana (3-26), Ekta Bisht (2-18) and Harmanpreet Kaur (2-16), concocted the victory with a disciplined effort to bowl out the visitors for 125 runs in 45.3 overs. The win boosted India’s chances of an automatic qualification berth for the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup.
Opting to bat first, the Indian batswomen struggled to navigate the Kiwis’ bowling attack. Captain Mithali Raj added a brief, 23-run partnership with opener Smriti Mandhana before the opener was stumped by Rachel Priest off Morna Nielson. The hosts then lost four wickets in quick succession to leave India precariously at 55-6 as teenaged debutant Leigh Kasperek picked up a three-wicket haul. Needing a strong character at the centre, Goswami relied on her experience to etch a match-turning 57 from 67 balls for her maiden fifty.
The 32-year-old stuck to her task with brief partnerships with Rana (7) and Bisht (12) while dispatching the loose balls to the fence as Anna Peterson was guided through the covers and Sophie Devine, who had earlier removed debutant Ravi Kalpana, was sent sailing over midwicket for the only six to be hit on the day. She gained a lifeline when Perkins dropped her at mid-wicket and brought up her half century before being beaten for pace by Tahuhu to end the innings. With a modest total to defend, the Indian bowlers showed poise as they starved the New Zealanders, bowling a tight line, only allowing 20 runs in the first 10 overs while removing dangerous Priest and Satterthwaite in the process.
Brief scores: India 142 in 44.3 overs (J. Goswami 57, Tahuhu 2/25, Nielsen 3/24, Kasperek 3/30) bt New Zealand 125 in 45.3 overs (S Bates 28, L. Kasperek 21 n.o., Bisht 2/18, Rana 3/26, H. Kaur 2/16).