India have started their new year with a scintillating win against White Ferns in the ongoing three-match ODI series of ICC Women’s Championship (2017-21). They continued their winning streak against White Ferns after ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017 and ICC World T20 in 2018. 

India’s victory first set by the spinners Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht and Deepti Sharma who picked up 8 wickets. White Ferns’ openers Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine added 61 runs before the wickets started falling at regular intervals and they were bowled out within 192 runs on board. Chasing the low target, India openers Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues added 190-run for the first wicket. Mandhana scored a blistering century, her fourth ODI ton but her dismissal came when three runs were needed to win. She scored 105 off 104 with 9 fours and 3 sixes while another opener Jemimah Rodrigues was unbeaten at 81. After scoring the match-winning knock, Mandhana said she was glad to anchor the innings.

“The wicket was really good to bat on, and initially we just played according to the merit of the ball. We just had to react to the ball, because they had good pacers,” Mandhana said after post-match.

“The plan was to see how the new ball was doing, as it was the first time we were batting in New Zealand. I am really happy. I have a thing of getting out in the 70s and 80s, and I had to tell myself to not hit any rash shot. I was able to stick in and guide the team through,” she further added.

The 190-run stand between the openers and the performance of the spinners made the winning foundation for India. Captain Mithali Raj was impressed with them.

“It’s great to see your openers put up more than 100 runs,” said Mithali Raj. “Also, the spinners have done really well because usually on these tracks, they are skeptical about whether the spinners can turn the ball.”

“A lot of girls do look up to her,” Raj said of Smriti Mandhana. “She has been doing really well – she had a great season in 2018 and she has just continued that into 2019. If you have someone like her, there is a lot of confidence in the dressing room.”

However, Mithali Raj was expecting her opponents would bundle out within 170 but due to some drop catches and some extra runs in the last couple of overs lift White Ferns’ total to 190-mark.

“Those could have been taken, they were easy catches,” Raj expressed after post match. “Also, the tail put on 40-50 runs later in the innings, we could have curtailed them to 20-30 runs. I was looking at 170 runs, but we carried them to 190.”

White Ferns’ captain Amy Satterthwaite, however, said that they were not able to build a partnership after the opening pair Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates had added 61; which caused their defeat.

“The way that we started, I thought Suzie and Sophie batted pretty well at the top and started to see a bit of a platform,” commented Satterthwaite. “We didn’t get enough partnerships anywhere through the innings and created our own pressure.

“It’s a quality Indian side that we are playing here. It is not just (about) relying on Suzie, Sophie and myself, but the whole batting order has got some quality people who can score some runs on their day,” further added.

India’s win set many team records as well as personal records of the players.

  • India captain Mithali Raj became the first women cricketer to have the longest ODI career (19y 212d).
  • With the wicket of Suzie Bates, Deepti Sharma completed her 50th ODI wicket.
  • With this 104-ball 105, Smriti Mandhana scored her fourth ODI century and placed second behind the ODI captain Mithali Raj (seven) in the list of century-makers of India. India T20I  captain Harmanpreet Kaur placed third with three centuries.
  • Smriti Mandhana became the first Indian women player and Second female player after Claire Taylor to score centuries in South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia. She also became the third Indian to score a century in their first ODI innings in New Zealand after Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli.
  • The first-wicket 190-run stand between Mandhana and Rodrigues was the third-best for India in ODIs. Deepti Sharma and Punam Raut placed at the top of the list with their 320-run stand against Ireland in 2017. The second one was by Reshma Gandhi and Mithali Raj, who had an unbroken 258-run stand against Ireland in 1999.
  • It was India’s fourth-best ODI partnership, behind the unbeaten 223-run third-wicket partnership between Jaya Sharma and Anjum Chopra against Pakistan in 2005.
  • The victory equaled India’s best victory against White Ferns in terms of wickets. In December 2003 and in July 2015, India had won by the same margin against them.

[stats collected from espncricinfo]

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