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Smriti Mandhana

Fourth ODI ton for Mandhana as India cruise to nine-wicket win

NZ v Ind, 1st ODI, report

India sauntered to an nine-wicket win in the first ICC Women’s Championship one-day international against New Zealand, with Smriti Mandhana scoring her fourth ODI century in a 190-run partnership with Jemimah Rodrigues on Thursday, 24 January, in Napier.

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Mandhana, the 2018 ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year, started the year the way she left the last, and her 104-ball 105, comprising nine fours and three sixes, ensured the home side never had a peep. Rodrigues, Mandhana's opening partner, kept up her end with a 94-ball 81* as well, but as big a part as they played in the victory, it was as much down to the bowlers.

India, after opting to bowl, had New Zealand bowled out for 192, despite Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine putting on 61 for the opening wicket. The Indian spinners took eight wickets between them, with Ekta Bisht (3/32) and Poonam Yadav (3/42) taking three wickets each, and Deepti Sharma ending with an extremely economical 2/27.

It was, in all, a fine show of dominance from the visitors – and the perfect start under their new coach WV Raman. New Zealand needed early wickets to have any hope of defending their total, but Mandhana and Rodrigues both settled down quite quickly.

They added 53 in the first ten overs, and in the 11th, Mandhana shifted gears, hammering two fours and a massive six off Holly Huddleston, the medium pacer. She brought up her half-century off just 43 balls soon after, and was particularly effective square of the wicket.

Rodrigues kept pace for the most part. She brought up her own half-century – her first in ODIs – off 60 balls, even as Mandhana plundered runs off Devine and Lea Tahuhu at the other end.

Jemimah Rodrigues scored her maiden ODI half-century
Jemimah Rodrigues scored her maiden ODI half-century

After 26 overs, the target was less than 50 runs away. The two kept going, and almost inevitably, Mandhana scored another century, her fourth in ODIs, off 101 balls. She perished shortly thereafter, with just three runs required for victory, when she looked to go big off Tahuhu. That only delayed the inevitable.

Earlier, the bowlers laid the foundation for the victory, but for a while there, Bates and Devine had the measure of India. Their 61-run opening stand gave the home side a fine start, but three quick wickets thereafter derailed the innings.

The stand was broken when Devine was run out by Deepti Sharma for a 38-ball 28. Yadav then deceived Lauren Down to have her stumped for nought before Sharma got the big wicket of Bates (36 off 54). New Zealand were suddenly 70/3.

Amy Satterthwaite, the captain, and Amelia Kerr steadied things with a 49-run stand, but the run-rate had slowed to a crawl. Inevitably, the pressure built up, and the middle order collapsed. Yadav had both Satterthwaite (31 off 45) and Kerr (28 off 60) dismissed, and Bisht and Sharma made the most of the breakthrough.

Hannah Rowe scored a valiant 36-ball 25 late in the innings, and that helped boost the total to the 190s. However, with Mandhana and Rodrigues in full flow, the total was far from sufficient.

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