Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj Lead India Women To ODI Series Victory Over New Zealand
India Women beat New Zealand by eight wickets in the second ODI to seal the three-match series 2-0.
Smriti Mandhana produced yet another superlative performance with the bat to guide India Women to a series-clinching win over New Zealand in the second ODI at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday. The left-handed opener scored a century in the series opener and followed it up with an unbeaten 90 off just 83 balls as India thrashed the hosts by eight wickets to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. Mandhana and skipper Mithali Raj (63 not out off 111 balls) stitched together an unbeaten 151-run partnership as India chased down the 162-run target with 14.4 overs to spare. Opting to field, India produced an excellent effort to bowl out New Zealand for a paltry 161 in 44.2 overs before player of the match Smriti Mandhana (90 not out) and skipper Mithali Raj (63 not out) guided the team to an easy win.
The duo resurrected the Indian run chase from 15 for two after the early loss of opener Jemimah Rodrigues (0) and Deepti Sharma (8).
"It feels great but I think our bowlers deserved the player of the match award more than me. I will give it away to our bowlers, they did a great job to restrict New Zealand on a good wicket," Mandhana said in the post-match presentation.
The 22-year-old Mandhana has been in excellent form in recent times and Tuesday's half-century was her eighth in the last 10 ODI innings. She hit 105 in the first match of the ongoing series.
Mithali Raj, on the other hand, faced 111 deliveries in her sedate knock of 63 and was the perfect foil to the aggressive Mandhana.
Mithali Raj completed the run chase in style with a six as India reached 166 for two in 35.2 overs.
"I am happy with the way the team is shaping up. I have always enjoyed batting in challenging conditions. It wasn't easy, it required patience here. Smriti is in good form and somebody had to give her support," Mithali Raj said.
India have now taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match contest, which is part of the ICC Women's Championship series. The visitors beat New Zealand by nine wickets in the first one-dayer at the same venue on January 24.
It was fitting revenge for the Indian team, which had lost the home leg of the ICC Women''s Championship series 1-2 to New Zealand during the last cycle that ran from 2014-2016.
(With PTI inputs)