The Indian women's team will look to clinch the three-match One-Day International series when they take on New Zealand in the second ODI at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday. Leaving some off-field controversies behind, India made a positive start in New Zealand and registered an emphatic nine-wicket win in the opening match. Smriti Mandhana scored a century for India, while Jemimah Rodrigues contributed with an unbeaten 81 as India chased down the small target of 193 runs with 17 overs to spare.
Ahead of the series, the Indian women's team had found itself in the middle of a sticky situation when ODI skipper Mithali Raj and then coach Ramesh Powar had a fallout during the semifinal of the T20 World Cup in the West Indies.
It eventually led to the exit of Powar and appointment of WV Raman as head coach.
Under Raman, the Indian team dished out a dominating performance, outclassing the hosts in all three departments in the series-opener.
The spin trio of Ekta Bisht (3/32), Poonam Yadav (3/42) and Deepti Sharma (2/27) strangled the Kiwi batters to dismiss them for 192 in 48.4 overs before openers Mandhana and Rodrigues steered the side home with a 190-run stand, India's third-best for the first wicket in ODIs.
Stylish opener Mandhana played a starring role, hitting her fourth ODI century as India overhauled the target in 33 overs to improve their position to fourth in the ICC championship table, which will determine qualifiers for the 2021 World Cup.
A win in the second ODI will seal the series and would be a 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.
New Zealand, on the other hand, are ranked second in the ICC Women's Championship table and are guaranteed direct entry into the 50-over World Cup being the hosts.
India Women: Mithali Raj (c), Tanya Bhatia (wk), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Dayalan Hemlatha, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav.
New Zealand Women: Amy Satterthwaite (c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout (wk), Sophie Devine, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu.
(With PTI inputs)