Mandhana, Rodrigues, Indian spinners crumple Kiwi women; take early series lead

Napier: Belligerent Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and Indian spinners choked out a weakened New Zealand with relentless accuracy, ensuring a convincing nine-wicket victory in the first one-day international (ODI) of the three-match series at the McLean Park in Napier on Thursday.

India dominated New Zealand in every department as they produced a masterclass of adapting to unusual conditions to wrap up the host for 192 within 49 overs.

Openers Mandhana and Rodrigues displayed classy batting with some vintage shots, including 18 boundaries shared between them and three sixes by Mandhana in the run-chase. The duo stitched a 190-run partnership for the first wicket and in the process, Mandhana completed her fourth century in the format while Rodrigues registered her highest ODI score of 81.

In an attempt to finish off the match with a six, Mandhana (105) gave a simple catch to Amelia Kerr off Lea Tahuhu delivery. With Rodrigues (81*) and Deepti Sharma in the middle, a wide ball off Hannah Rowe gave India an early lead in the series.

The visiting spinners laid the foundations for success with Ekta Bisht, Deepti, Poonam Yadav finishing with combined figures of 8 for 101 from 29 overs, and spacewoman Shikha Pandey with one for 38 within 8 overs.
Jhulan Goswami and Shikha had applied a measure of pressure in the Powerplay overs, forcing Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine into risks but once the Kiwi openers settled at the crease they briefly threatened the visitors with their partnership worth of 44 as India conceded a steady drip of singles, couple of boundaries and a six.

The passage immediately after the Powerplay marked the worst for New Zealand. The Kiwi team was hit hard by the run-out of Devine (28), resulting in the end of a 61-run partnership with Bates. The dent led to the loss of two more Kiwi wickets — Bates (36) and Lauren Down for a duck — at regular interval. The dismissal of Bates marked the 50th ODI wicket for Deepti.

The only time New Zealand found any momentum was when Amy Satterthwaite took the onus to bring stability. The Kiwi captain was clear in her thinking and execution of simple plans. Those plans comprised three boundaries and a 49-run stand with Amelia, before departing for 31.

In the hope to stretch the target, Amelia (28) and Rowe (25) looked to hit aerially and down the ground but miserably failed in front of Indian fielding, and the Kiwi line-up folded for 192.

India, with a 1-0 lead, will next clash with New Zealand in the second ODI of the three-match series at Mount Maunganui on January 29.