Another failure from India Women’s middle-order led to New Zealand registering a narrow two-run victory in the third and final T20I and clean sweep the series 3-0 in Hamilton on Sunday (February 10).
Chasing a par 162 on a hot afternoon, the visitors were given a strong foundation by Smriti Mandhana’s half-century but a strong showing by the White Ferns in the latter stages, giving away just 36 runs in the final five overs, tipped the result in favour of the hosts.
Mandhana continued from where she left off in Hamilton, pulling Lea Tahuhu with authority signalling her intent. However, her innings was almost cut short after she failed to get the distance on a lofted attempt off Anna Peterson but Hayley Jensen grassed the chance in the deep.
The hosts did break the opening stand two overs later, as Priya Punia was stumped by Katey Martin off Leigh Kasperek.
India’s strongest pair in the series, Jemimah Rodrigues and Mandhana kept the scoreboard ticking, with the latter continuing to find the boundaries with relative ease.
The southpaw brought up her half-century off 33 balls – her second of the series.
Rodrigues, while finding the middle of the bat, failed to find the boundary on multiple occasions. The pressure soon got the better of the youngster as her effort to clear mid-on landed in the hands of the opposition captain.
Harmanpreet Kaur’s poor T20I series continued as she edged an expansive drive and presented a simple catch to Peterson at short third man – the second time in the series she has been dismissed by Amelia Kerr.
Taking advantage of the opening, the bowlers brought down the run-rate by sticking to their plans, and conceded just 20 runs between overs 12 and 15. Their efforts paid off in the 16th over as Sophie Devine forced Mandhana to take a swipe across the line. The top-edge ended in the safe hands of Lea Tahuhu.
Deepti Sharma released some pressure with a maximum off Kerr but Kasperek’s five-run 18th over meant India needed 23 off the final two overs.
Deepti and Raj smashed a boundary each in the final over, but the latter failed to hit a four off the last ball to hand the White Ferns a two-run win.
Earlier, skipper Satterthwaite had no hesitation in asking the visitors to field first on winning the toss on a fresh wicket at Seddon Park.
Despite their good form individually, openers Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates have struggled to stitch a big stand at the top, and the story followed suit on this occasion as well.
Bates (24) skied Arundhati Reddy straight to the Indian captain Kaur at mid-off in the sixth over.
Hannah Rowe (12) was moved up the order in the absence of Caitlin Gurrey but managed just a solitary boundary before getting trapped by leg-spinner Poonam Yadav. India was initially denied by the on-field umpire but a DRS review ruled the decision in favour of the away side.
Devine, however, was dealing in boundaries at the other end and brought up her half-century in the 13th over, smashing Yadav over her head for a boundary.
But New Zealand’s aspiration of a 180-plus target suffered a jolt in the 17th over, as the opener, giving herself room, failed to connect with a straight delivery from Mansi Joshi to see the stumps rattled.
Satterthwaite departed the very next over, getting holed out to Rodrigues in the second attempt off Radha Yadav in the deep.
Indian bowlers effort in the final few overs saw them concede just 19 runs from the last three overs, and New Zealand finished on 161-7 – a total which eventually proved to be sufficient to clinch the game.