India started their tour of New Zealand on a winning note as they beat Central Hinds by 138 runs in a warm-up match at the Nelson Park in Napier on Friday (January 18).
Having opted to bat first, India rode on Mona Meshram’s unbeaten 90-ball 78 to post 217 for 9 in 50 overs before Poonam Yadav’s 4 for 6 dismissed Hinds for 79 in 31.4 overs.
Deepti Sharma, who was in prime form during the inter-state 50-over competition where she helped Bengal win the title for the first time, opened the batting with Smriti Mandhana as India decided to play Punam Raut and Jemimah Rodrigues in the middle order. The experiment did not work as she made only three off 16 balls before being out in the fifth over.
Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana (23) too fell in quick succession as India became 42 for 3. Raut and Rodrigues put on a stand of 28 before the duo fell in a space of 17 runs. At 87 for 5 in 24.3 overs, India needed stability, and it was provided by Meshram and D Hemalatha.
The pair put on 92 at a fair pace to give innings direction before Rosemary Mair, the right-arm medium pacer bowled Hemalatha for her third wicket. Hemalatha made 36 in 47 balls and spent 73 minutes at the crease.
The last eight overs were all about Meshram as she opened up for India to score 38 runs even as wickets fell at regular intervals. She hit seven fours in all. It was an important knock for her considering her strike-rate has come under scrutiny of late.
Jess Watkin was Hinds’s best bowler with returns of 4 for 34 in ten overs. She accounted for Mithali, Taniya Bhaita, Shikha Pandey and Jhulan Goswami.
Hinds did not start the chase well to be 45 for 5 in 16.3 overs, Goswami and Mansi Joshi picking up four wickets. The lower order was easy work for Poonam, who took just 5.4 overs to bring an early end to the game.
India 217/9 in 50 overs (Mona Meshram 78*, D Hemalatha 36; Rosemary Mair 3-28, Jess Watkin 4-34) beat Central Hinds 79 in 31.4 overs (Jhulan Goswami 2-19, Mansi Joshi 2-8, Poonam Yadav 4-6) by 139 runs.