Chasing 156 for a victory, India started with a new pair of Yastika Bhatia and Shafali Verma in the absence of Smriti Mandhana. The duo survived some tricky bowling upfront and then Bhatia broke the shackles with a six off Tahuhu over the deep backward-square. Verma got going with two back-to-back fours against Tahuhu, and India scored 39 runs off the power play without losing a wicket.
That joy didn’t last long as Devine handed the ball to Amelia, who was playing her first international match since April 2021. Kerr struck twice in one over to send both openers back. Meghana came at four with India struggling at 42 for two. She made a case for herself with a beautiful lofted straight drive off Devine. Her captain Harmanpreet Kaur took time at the other end, while she looked at ease.
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Kaur struggled throughout her innings and a hooping inswinger from Jess ended her short stay. Meghana found an attacking partner in Richa Ghosh and the pair formed the partnership of 34 runs. Tahuhu finally got rid of the dangerous Meghana and that led to a collapse. India lost four wickets for just 36 runs in the final five overs and fell short of the target by 18 runs.
For New Zealand, Amelia and Jess took four wickets between them with help from Hayley Jensen also picking up two wickets.
Earlier, Kaur won the toss and opted to field first. India had to go without Mandhana, Renuka Singh Thakur, and Meghna Singh as they are still in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) as per the New Zealand government rules. while the hosts decided to rest Amy Satterthwaite ahead of the busy schedule. Simran Dil Bahadur, bowling in her fourth T20I, almost got the wicket of Devine with her first ball of the match when the White Ferns skipper tried to drill a low full-toss straight down the ground, only for Bahadur to drop a difficult chance. Devine and Bates didn’t hold back in Bahadur’s second over as it went for 21 runs. Kaur introduced Rajeshwari Gayakwad with one over to go in the power play, but the Kiwi pair managed to amass 12 runs in the sixth over.
Shortly after becoming the first partnership in T20Is to go past the 2000-run mark, Devine top-edged Deepti Sharma to Sneh Rana at deep mid-wicket to end the opening stand. Gayakwad came back in the 12th over to send Bates back for 36. With 80 for two, Maddy Green and Amelia had a consolidation job at their hand. India kept Amelia quiet for a while, and that brought her downfall as she fell for 17.
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New Zealand promoted in-form Tahuhu at five and she delivered by hitting her first-ever six off Poonam Yadav. Her counter-attack didn’t stop even after Sharma dismissed Green. Pooja Vastrakar ended Tahuhu’s blistering knock of 27 off just 14 balls with Verma taking an easy overhead catch. On the back of Katey Martin’s late cameo, hosts went past 150.
For India, Sharma and Vastrakar took two wickets each, with the latter being the most economical of the lot.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 155 for 5 in 20 overs (Suzie Bates 36, Sophie Devine 31; Pooja Vastrakar 2/16) beat India 137 for 8 in 20 overs (Sabbhineni Meghana 37, Yastika Bhatia 26; Jess Kerr 2/20) by 18 runs POTM: Lea Tahuhu