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Tuesday turned out to be a happy day for the Kiwi Cricket fans. New Zealand Women came from behind to topple Indian Women in a close encounter at Wellington. The same result followed in the Men's version of the game as well - only the margin of the win was bigger. Indian and the Kiwi Women will now move to Auckland to play the second T20I of the series scheduled on 8th February. The hosts punched well above their weight in the first match of the series to defeat hot-favorites India. They'll be looking to build on the momentum whereas Indians will be hungry for a win to draw level in the series. The first T20I was a treat to watch for the fans and we expect nothing less from the second game as well.
The Kiwi Women may have started this tour in a rather sluggish manner, but they now appear to be running away with the momentum. They lost the ODI series with the losses in the first two matches and then bounced back in the final match to redeem themselves.
They extended their winning run in the T20s as well where they defeated Indian women in a see-saw encounter by 23 runs. After India got off to a terrific start in their chase of 160, the Kiwi bowlers scripted an incredible fightback which was led by Amelia Kerr, Lea Tahuhu, and Leigh Kasperek. They picked up nine wickets for 34 runs to hand India their second consecutive defeat in the T20s. Leh Tahuhu was the pick of their bowlers and returned with the figures of 4-0-20-3.
Earlier with the bat, Sophie Devine notched her ninth T20I fifty and played an instrumental role in negating Indian spinners. She partnered well with Amy Satterthwaite for the third wicket where the pair added 69 runs. With the help of little but useful cameos by Frances McKay and Martin, the Kiwi got 159 runs on the board which eventually proved more than enough.
Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, Caitlin Gurrey, Amy Satterthwaite, Katey Martin, Anna Peterson, Leigh Kasperek, Hannah Rowe, Amelia Kerr, Lea Tahuhu, Rosemary Mair.
Mithali Raj was India's backbone in the recently concluded T20I series and it was strange to see her dropped for the second time in a row. India suffered a similar fate as the last time - a familiar collapse after getting off to a flying start.
Chasing a total of 160, Indian Women lost the debutant Priya Punia in the first over, but Smriti Mandhana never allowed the hosts to cease the advantage as she smashed three sixes and seven fours to cruise to get the fasted T20I fifty for India Women. Her stand with Jemimiah Rodriques got India within the touching distance of a win before they exhibited an epic collapse, losing their last nine wickets for just 34 runs.
Things were as dark for the Indian bowlers as no bowler except Deepti Sharma conceded runs at an economy rate of 7.50 runs an over. Overall, Indian bowlers failed in both restricting or picking up the wickets which allowed the Kiwis to score a more than par score on a sporting wicket of Wellington.
Priya Punia, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur, Dayalan Hemalatha, Arundhati Reddy, Mansi Joshi, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav.
The last two matches on this tour have really sparked up the competition and anticipation of the matches to come. We still have two matches to come in the series, including the one at Auckland. For Indian women, the series is at stake and they need to win the upcoming contest to stay alive. New Zealand, on the other hand, will like to seal the series to try to experiment with their combination in the final ODI. Indians have faced back to back defeats in the T20s primarily because of the poor performance by their middle-order. We are likely to see a change in their playing eleven to strengthen their middle-order. Jemimiah Rodriques and Smriti Mandhana have been in terrific touch and will be tough to dislodge for the Kiwi bowlers. Though the match can swing in any direction, we think that India women with their powerful top-order will register a win and level the series 1-1.
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