Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur starred with the bat as India defeated New Zealand by six wickets in the fifth and final ODI here at the John Davies Oval, Queenstown on Thursday. With this win, India registered their first win of the series, but the White Ferns took the ODI series 4-1.
Chasing 252, India’s opening pair of Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana put on 29 runs but this stand was cut short in the fifth over as Hayley Jensen got the better of Verma (9). Deepti Sharma and Smriti Mandhana then got together at the crease and the duo formed a 60-run stand for the second wicket.
However, this partnership was ended by Fran Jonas as she got the better of Deepti (21) and this brought Harmanpreet Kaur to the middle. Mandhana and Harmanpreet put on 64 runs, but as soon as India started to gain full control, Jensen got the better of Mandhana (71) and India was reduced to 153/3, still, 99 runs away from the target.
Harmanpreet Kaur brought an end to her half-century drought, but with India 27 runs away from the target, Harmanpreet (63) ended up losing her wicket. However, skipper Mithali Raj (57*) and Richa Ghosh (7*) ensured that India registers a comfortable victory.
Earlier, Amelia Kerr played a knock of 66 as New Zealand posted 251/9 in the allotted fifty overs. For India, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana returned with two wickets each. Sophie Devine (34), Lauren Down (30) and Hayley Jensen (30) also played useful knocks helping the hosts post more than 250 runs on the board.