Smriti Mandhana after hitting a century. ©Getty Images

India continued their good form against the White Ferns by registering a mammoth nine- wicket win over them. After defeating them in both the Women’s World Cup and the Women’s T20 World Cup, India continued the trend by triumphing over the White Ferns in the first ODI of a three match ODI series.

Their victory was on the back of India’s third-highest opening partnership in ODI’s; a massive 190-run stand between centurion Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues (81*). With just three runs left to claim the win, Mandhana was dismissed for 105- her fourth ODI ton- but not before she had won the match for her side.

“The wicket was really good to bat on, and initially we just played according to the merit of the ball. We just had to react to the ball, because they had good pacers,” Mandhana reflected post-match. “The plan was to see how the new ball was doing. This was the first time we were batting in New Zealand, and we didn’t really know … we watched a bit of the men’s match and also how the first innings went. So we decided to just keep it simple, play according to the merit of the ball.”

This meant the Indian openers started slow, especially after seeing their opponents crumble to 192 all-out, despite a strong start by their openers. Mandhana and Rodrigues played the first two overs, bowled by Lea Tahuhu and Hannah Rowe, cautiously, before accelerating. They pushed their run-rate to 5.87, reaching 190 in just over 32 overs. “If we keep going, we score at a really high rate, so we don’t really need to worry about the run-rate,” Mandhana said. “The way we were going, I think we would have been able to chase 280-300. Anything above 260, as a batter you have it at the back of the mind … anything above 260, it would have been tough.”

In the first innings, Suzie Bates (36) and Sophie Devine (28) had put on a 61-run opening stand for New Zealand, laying a solid foundation for the rest of the innings. However, after the first wicket fell, India claimed scalps at regular intervals. This meant that though players like Amy Satterthwaite (31), Amelia Kerr (28) and Rowe (25) got starts, they were unable to build on them.

“Suzie and Sophie batted pretty well at the top, and built a bit of a platform, but we didn’t get a big enough partnership at any stage of the innings (after that)” remarked Satterthwaite, after the match. “A lot of people got starts, 20s and 30s, and didn’t kick on. There were a lot of dot balls and we created our own pressure, tried to release it with a shot that’s not really on.”

Then, in the second innings, New Zealand needed to build pressure and take wickets, if they were to set up a close match. However, when the dot balls did start to add up and pressure mounted, the bowlers would leak a boundary-ball, and all the pressure would be lifted.

“Certainly with the ball, at times we weren’t patient enough,” Satterthwaite said. “We didn’t create enough pressure and didn’t string enough dot balls together, and always released it with a four ball. So you’re chasing your tail constantly and that makes it pretty tough.”

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