India Women took the first steps towards clinching the five-match One-Day International series against New Zealand Women with a heartening bowling display at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad, India’s best bowler in the series, came to the fore again with 2 for 15 off eight overs. Jhulan Goswami’s experience was evident as she picked up 2 for 17 in eight overs, while Deepti Sharma, the offspinner, took 2 for 22 in seven overs as India’s bowlers reaped the rewards for a disciplined show on an overcast Wednesday (July 8) to keep New Zealand to 118 all out in 41 overs after being asked to field.
That New Zealand got to 118 was courtesy a patient 42 off 85 balls from Suzie Bates, the captain who was left waging a lone battle as the middle order faltered.
In reply, India lost Smriti Mandhana early for 13. At the lunch break, they had reached 27 for 1 in seven overs, with Thirush Kamini (4) and Deepti Sharma (9) at the crease.
Mandhana began aggressively, cracking three consecutive boundaries in the second over of the chase sent down by Lea Tahuhu.
But Morna Nielsen, the left-arm spinner, elicited a simple return catch off a full ball to send Mandhana packing shortly before the interval.
When play got under way in the morning, Goswami and Niranjana Nagarajan kept things tight from the word go on a flat deck. New Zealand’s approach at the outset was to play the ball according to merit. But the untoward run-out of Rachel Priest served to upset plans early on. Bates had played out five dot balls in the first over from Goswami before she took off for a single that was never there. Priest reluctantly responded but the moment’s hesitation cost them as Gayakwad’s throw from midwicket to R Kalpana, the wicketkeeper, proved good enough.
Goswami snapped up Amy Satterthwaite four overs later when she nicked one to Kalpana. With the score reading 33 for 2 at the end of the mandatory Power Play, it was a job well begun as far as India were concerned.
India then lost the opportunity to really turn on the heat when Ekta Bisht, returning to the side after being left out of the previous game, spilled a straightforward chance at point off a cut by Sophie Devine, promoted to No. 4.
Bates and Devine then began gradually building to steady the ship. They were prudent to start off with. Anything on the good length area and they were happy to just nudge it to either side of the wicket, while throwing their arms at the slightest hint of width.
The first signs of acceleration came through a six down the ground over long off by Devine against Deepti.
It’s not often that teams get away after dropping the opposition’s best batter of the series. Fortunately for India, that wasn’t the case as Devine fell before she could inflict any significant damage, trapped leg before by Harmanpreet Kaur for 18 and the association ended at 49.
Katie Perkins was then trapped leg before by Gayakwad, who returned to send Maddie Green back in the next over, when she popped a simple return catch to the bowler off a leading edge.
Bates continued to display tremendous composure, trying her best to hold her end up, even while not allowing the flow of runs to stagnate. But support in some form was needed. Part of it was a result of her own doing as another call for a quick single after a gentle push towards point resulted in Leigh Kasperek being caught short of her crease.
Any hopes of still putting together a fightback came crashing down when Bates holed out to cover off Bisht when a flick induced a leading edge to leave New Zealand tottering at 101 for 7 in 33.1 overs.
Attacking fields were a constant thereafter. Kate Broadmore chopped one onto the stumps off Jhulan before Lea Tahuhu fell to Deepti when she was trapped in front trying to flick with the turn.
Deepti then wrapped up proceedings when she had Anna Peterson caught at deep midwicket. Peterson had shown defiance, with 22 off 39 balls. But on a pitch that still had runs on offer, it was scant compensation after an abject surrender.