New Zealand women hold nerve to clinch last-ball thriller

Set a target of 136, New Zealand overcame a late flurry of wickets to win off the last ball and take an unassailable series lead.

Suzie Bates plays the ball square of the wicket on the offside during her innings of 62.   -  Getty Images

A shoddy batting performance by the middle-order saw Indian women lose a nail-biting second T20 International against New Zealand by four wickets and concede the three-match series here Friday.

The Indian women had earlier lost the first Twenty20 International by 23 runs in Wellington.

Needing a win to keep the series alive, Indian women posted a modest 135 for six despite being 72 for two after the first 10 overs.

Chasing a modest target, New Zealand made a heavy weather of the chase before scampering home off the last ball of the match losing six wickets.

As it happened

“I think we should give credit to our bowlers, it wasn’t a good total but still they fought for us. We were 20 runs short, They played better cricket than us. We just need to learn from our mistakes and play better,” India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said after the match.

Jemimah Rodrigues slammed a 53-ball 72 that included six fours and one six but India scored only 63 runs in the back 10 to end up 20 runs short, which became its undoing.

The White Ferns lost two quick wickets -- opener Sophie Devine (19) and Caitlin Gurrey (4) by the seventh over with the scoreboard reading 40.

But then Suzie Bates (62) and Amy Satterthwaite (23) joined hands and the duo stitched 61 runs for the third wicket to get New Zealand women back into the track.

Left-arm orthodox bowler Radha Yadav (two for 23) and medium pacer Arundhati Reddy (two for 22) bowler well for Indian women in the middle overs to take the match down to the wire.

Reddy, in fact, brought India women back into the match with twin blows in the 18th over -- first dismissing a set Bates and then accounting for Anna Peterson for a first-ball duck to bring India back into the contest.

New Zealand needed nine runs off the last over and Katey Martin smacked Mansi Joshi for a boundary off the first ball to bring down the equation to five off five.

Joshi, however, got her revenge by getting through the defence of Martin in the next ball.

But it was not to be India’s day as some sloppy fielding and sensible batting by Hannah Rowe and Leigh Kasperek took New Zealand home.

“We probably should have done that lot easier than what we did. But I am happy. Feels like it’s been a while since we won a series,” New Zealand captain Amy Satherwaite said.

Earlier, Jemimah, with in-form opener Smriti Mandhana (36 off 27), Rodrigues added 63 runs for the second wicket to lay the base for the total after the visitor lost opener Priya Punia (4) early.

Invited to bat, India women struggled to build partnerships and the one between Mandhana and Rodrigues saved the visitor’s from humilation.

When Mandhana and Rodrigues were at the crease, India women were going great guns as the duo played fearlessly to put together 71 runs in 9.1 overs before the visitor lost Mandhana.

Mandhana’s dismissal brought in Harmanpreet but the skipper didn’t last long and perished after scoring only five runs.

Rodrigues, though, carried on and registered fifth T20 fifty of her career but didn’t get enough support from the other end to take potentially take India to a bigger total.

Rodrigues got out in the penultimate over while trying to go for big shots, stumped by Katey Martin off leg-spinner Amelia Kerr.

Besides Rodrigues and Mandhana, it was struggle all throughout for others as no other batswomen could manage double-digit scores.

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