White Ferns with the trophy. ©Twitter/White Ferns

Sophie Devine’s 72 off 53 balls and two wickets to her name helped New Zealand win a nail-biting final T20I  against India by 2 runs at Hamilton and complete the 3-0 whitewash.

To make most of the newly laid pitch, New Zeland won the toss the toss and chose to bat. Both teams made one change from the previous match. Hayley Jensen replaced Catlin Gurrey for the White Ferns and Mithali Raj returned to the Indian squad due to Hemalatha’s injury in the previous T20I.

The innings was started off with Bates and Divine to Deepti Sharma conceded only three runs. Mansi Joshi from the other end bowled an expensive over in which Divine and Bates hit 3 boundaries. Sharma’s 2nd over too proved costly as ‘Smash Sisters’ each hit a boundary each. In no time, White Ferns were 46 runs in 5 overs without losing a wicket. Suzie Bates dismissed for 24 by Reddy in her first over as she sliced a delivery to the Indian skipper Kaur for an easy catch.

Hannah Rowe promoted to number 3 spot. Poonam Yadav struck after taking a referral for the wicket of Hannah Rowe. Punia dropped Divine at 34 off a fiercely driven shot which eventually proved costly. Devine hit a six to Yadav followed by a four to bring her 11th T20I 52 off 40 balls. In Yadav’s next over, Divine smashed a massive six straight down the ground, and a subsequent boundary to bring up the 50-run partnership with Satterthwaite. In the next over Satterthwaite to joined the action with Devine to hammer Reddy with two boundaries.  

New Zealand looked formidable with Devine and Satterthwaite hitting the bowlers everywhere on the ground. Finally, Joshi made the breakthrough getting the wicket of Devine at 72 off 52 balls with a slower delivery. Satterthwaite too fell in the next over to Radha Yadav and Katey completed the over with a boundary. She was found short of the crease as a direct hit from Mansi Joshi ended her innings. Deepti Sharma trapped Kasperek leg before in front of the stumps for a first ball duck. Tahuhu was caught by Joshi on the boundary attempting to strike the ball out of the ground.

India made a formidable comeback after the Devine destruction to restrict the White Ferns to 161 in 20 overs.

Priya Punia and Smriti Mandhana started off the inning for the third time in a row. Mandhana immediately opened her account with a boundary. Hayley Jensen put Mandhana down at 5 which ended up going to the boundary, a six followed the dropped catch and that eventually proved to be expensive. Lea Kasperek came under pressure after Mandhana hit back to back boundaries. However, despite this blistering start by the openers, the experiment with Punia failed as she was stumped in the third over for just 1 off 2 balls.

Making full use of the lifeline in the second over, Mandhana brought up her eighty T20I fifty in 33 balls. Jemimah Rodrigues was complimenting Mandhana to keep the scoreboard ticking until a mistimed a shot was chipped on to mid on to end her innings for well made 21 off 17 balls. Mandhana hit a consecutive three boundaries to Rosemary Mair and another to Devine. Harmanpreet Kaur got an outside edge getting caught and Amelia Kerr registered the wicket.

Trying to accelerate the score, Mandhana misjudged a delivery by Devine and Tahuhu took the simple catch. This wicket of Mandhana for 86 off 62 balls came at a very crucial stage for the White Ferns. Deepti Sharma hit a massive six to Kerr and 16 runs were needed off the last over. Mithali Raj started the over with a four placed perfectly between two fielders. Deepti Sharma too came to the party hitting the third delivery to the boundary again. India required 4 off the last ball with Mithali on strike. Mithali couldn’t put it off, New Zealand win the match with 2 runs. This is the highest scoring women’s T20I match won by 2 or fewer.

For her all-round performances Sophie Devine was declared player of the match and series. She said, “It was pretty tough out there but when Smriti came out she made it look pretty easy.”

“India has played well, they have played hard and pushed us to our limits,” said Satterthwaite, during post-match presentation.

India will play England next on their home turf and New Zealand play their arch enemey Australia.