5th ODI: Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur help the Indian women avoid a clean win over New Zealand

The Indian women averted a clean win in the ODI series in New Zealand as an all-around performance blasted away a 252 goal with 6 wickets and 4 overs in hand. Big guns Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj and Harmanrpeet Kaur appeared as India ended the ODI series with a 1-4 result. It was also the first win for India on their tour of New Zealand after 5 consecutive defeats including that in the lone T20I.

With less than two weeks to go before the start of the 2022 Women’s World Cup campaign, India had to halt their slide and Thursday’s victory will surely give Mithali Raj’s side a boost of confidence.

While opener Smriti Mandhana, who made her debut in New Zealand only in the last game after a prolonged stint in isolation, found her rhythm as she set the tone for the solid comeback

Although Shafali Verma was lost early on, Smriti continued and made a solid 71 of 84 deliveries. She smashes a 60-run stand with Deepti Sharma, after which Smriti and Harmanpreet Kaur pressurize the New Zealand bowlers with free-flowing shots.

HARMANPREET FIND FORM

Harmanpreet, in dire need of a couple of runs, found form at a crucial point for India as they need the stars’ batsman to step up and feature at the Women’s World Cup. In fact, Harmanpreet’s 66-ball 63 proved to be the difference between India snaking through to goal and New Zealand making a comeback.

It was heartwarming to see Smriti embrace Harmanpreet with a hug right after her T20I captain hit a six to assert her dominance down the middle.

India lost by Smriti in the 29th but Harmanpreet and captain Mithali Raj kept the scoreboard moving to help India smash the 24 ball goal.

While Harmanpreet hit six and six limits for their 63, Mithali went unbeaten on 57 (66 balls) to help India cross the finish line.

Earlier in the day, Indian spinners dominated proceedings with 38 overs from 50 to limit New Zealand to 251. While senior pacer Jhulan Goswami went without a wicket, the likes of Deepti, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Sneh Raha each took 2 wickets while leg spinners Poonam Yadav and Meghna Singh each took 1 wicket.

For New Zealand, Amelia Kerr had the highest score with 66, but the rest of the batting unit couldn’t come up with a batter to speak of.

NEW ZEALAND V INDIA, 5. WODI BRIEF Score

India 255/4 in 46 overs (Smriti 71, Harmanpreet 63, Mithali 57*) defeated New Zealand 251/9 in 50 overs (Amelia 66, Rana 2/40, Deepti 2/42) by 6 wickets.

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