The New Zealand WHITE FERNS scored a valuable win over India in the second ODI at Bengaluru’s M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, downing India by three wickets with 5.4 overs to spare to claim two much-needed ICC Women’s Championship points.
The victory not only balances the five-ODI Series at 1-1, but takes the Ferns from eighth to sixth on the IWC table — all teams fighting for automatic qualification for the 2017 Cricket World Cup.
Despite seizing the early advantage, the Indian women were undone by a string of grassed opportunities and misfields, allowing the middle order of Amy Satterthwaite, Sophie Devine and Katie Perkins to bring the Ferns back into the game.
A fearless cameo of 23 off 22 balls from Anna Peterson then sealed it for the New Zealanders — the unbeaten Peterson releasing any pressure when she smashed 14 runs off spinner Sneh Rana, including a six, in the 44th over, to reduce the target to single figures.
Earlier, Indian captain Mithali Raj had once again elected to bat on a fresh deck, bringing in Thirush Kamini to open with Smriti Mandhana in the only change to the teams.
Misfields would be the hallmark of each side’s innings, the Ferns’ opening attack of Lea Tahuhu and Sophie Devine suffering as their hosts survived a clutch of early chances. Devine herself dropped Kamini at second slip off Tahuhu, then Suzie Bates uncharacteristically put down Mandhana at short cover before Leigh Kasperek left nothing to chance by bowling her on 12, after the opener had advanced down the track for a lavish miss.
The chance against Kamini would prove more expensive, however, as she settled in and punched her way to a valuable half-century — including a stylish six over long-on, then tapping the boundary with a four to bring up a 71-ball 50 in the 26th over.
Kamini’s innings would be interrupted in the 32nd as she left the field with cramp on 59*. By then, the Ferns had recovered their fielding game to have India four down — and were about to strike again as the troublesome Tahuhu trapped batting nemesis of the first match, Jhulan Goswami, for just one run.
Almost as soon as Kamini had returned to resume her innings, she became the next of Suzie Bates’ three victims with the ball. Having trapped opposite number Raj with an offcutter with just her second ball, the visiting captain had also atoned for her early slip-up with two catches in the covers, to have a hand in five dismissals in all.
Amy Satterthwaite, meanwhile, put a patchy Indian order under pressure through the middle with her lean 0-10 off six overs, the Indian innings held together by Harmanpreet Kaur (31) before they were dismissed in the last over.
Chasing 163 and determined to bat with more intent than in the opening match, top order aggression from Bates and Priest played to India’s advantage, Rajeshwari putting herself on a hat-trick in her first over when she had Priest caught at cover and Maddy Green lbw to a first-baller — 46/1 turning to 46/3 in a blink.
Vice-captain Devine steadied the ship, however, carting Rana inside out over long on for an emphatic six. She combined in a promising 22-stand with Satterthwaite — who had survived a stumping opportunity only to be run out next ball by a direct hit from Raj, before pressing on for the key fifth-wicket partnership of 49 with Katie Perkins, helped on by the string of Indian fumbles.
Perkins’ luck finally ran out on 30 when one stuck (Raj taking her second catch, rewarding left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht), but India was even more jubilant shortly afterwards as an outstretched Devine couldn’t quite get a toenail back behind the line, stumped on 33 to create a jarring double breakthrough in the space of 13 balls.
A further 35 was required off the last 15 overs, but 24-year-old Peterson made short work of it, with Leigh Kasperek unbeaten on 17.