Smriti Mandhana scored a fine century and Jemima Rodrigues remained unbeaten on 81 as the Indian women's team thrashed New Zealand by nine wickets in the first One-day International (ODI) on Thursday. Chasing New Zealand's 192 off 48.5 overs, the Indian women marched to the target in 33 overs with Mandhana and Rodrigues showing fine form. Earlier, Ekta Bisht claimed three wickets as New Zealand were restricted to 192 all out in their inning.
While Mandhana, fresh from winning the ICC women's cricketer of the year award, slammed her fourth ODI hundred, Rodrigues notched up her maiden international half century.
"I think it's great to start the series with a win and wonderful to see openers get an over 100-run partnership. I think lot of girls do look up to Mandhana. She had a great 2018 and she is continuing and it gives a lot of confidence to the dressing room," India captain Mithali Raj said in the post-match presentation.
"But easy catches should have been taken. We are definitely not overconfident," she added, referring to the shortcomings she noticed.
Mandhana and Rodrigues stitched together the highest ever opening wicket stand against New Zealand, a 190-run partnership that stood for 32.2 overs. Rodrigues was making just her fifth appearance in national colours.
Mandhana's 104-ball knock included nine fours and three sixes, while Rodrigues managed nine hits to the fence.
"The wicket was great to bat on. We played according to the merit of the balls and it was a great innings," she said.
An overcast sky meant that the two teams did not face the sun-strike that halted play for nearly half an hour in the men's game on Wednesday.
Earlier, put in to bat, New Zealand let slip a good start and crumbled in the face of India''s relentless spin combination of Poonam Yadav and Ekta Bisht.
Both Bisht and Yadav snared three wickets each to put the visiting side on top.
Yadav, in fact, ripped through the White Ferns' middle order, claiming the scalps of skipper Amy Satterthwaite (31), Lauren Down (0) and Amelia Kerr (28) in her quota of 10 overs.
This was after Susie Bates (38) and Sophie Devine (28) gave New Zealand a solid start.
But Devine's run out by Deepti Sharma triggered a collapse and New Zealand folded in 48.4 overs. Bates' 38 off 54 balls, including a couple of fours, was the best that any home batsman could manage.
The next match of the series will be played in Mount Maunganui on January 29.
(With PTI inputs)