Lauren Down (IANS)

Lauren Down (IANS)

New Zealand Women manage record run-chase; clinch ODI series vs India

Queenstown, February 18, 2022

India Women came up with their highest ODI total of the ongoing series against New Zealand but still lost the third of the five-match rubber by three wickets, thanks to Lauren Down who smashed an unbeaten 64 at the John Davies Oval here on Friday.

With this win, New Zealand Women have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, and will be going into next month's ICC Women's World Cup full of confidence.

Three fine half-centuries from Indian batters saw the tourists amass 279 in 49.3 overs but the hosts were equally impressive and managed to overhaul the target with five balls to spare.

Requiring 128 from inside 20 overs, Down compiled a 52-ball unbeaten 64, smashing a six from the first ball of the last over to seal the victory with five deliveries to spare. Down was assisted by Katey Martin (35) and Frankie McKay (17 not out from 12 balls), recovering from 171/6 to complete the unlikely chase.

It was New Zealand's highest successful chase in Women's ODI history and second-highest overall.

Earlier, New Zealand's reply to India's 279 was brought to a crashing halt after the loss of Amy Satterthwaite (59) and Amelia Kerr (67), who put on 103 for the third wicket, recovering from the loss of Sophie Devine (0) and Suzie Bates (5).

Despite Jhulan Goswami continuing to bowl with the world-class quality shown in last year's tour of Australia in claiming 3/47, Down stood her ground.

Earlier, India made an amazing start with the bat after losing the toss, racing to 86/0 at the 10-over mark, thanks largely to Sabbhineni Meghana (61 off 41 deliveries), who registered her first ODI fifty in just 33 balls. Falling one short of reaching her first fifty earlier in the series, Meghana hit nine fours and two sixes in her 61.

Meghana was accompanied by Shafali Verma -- who compiled 51 off 57 deliveries -- though the White Ferns pulled back their opposition through both incisive bowling and professional fielding effort in the middle overs.

Rosemary Mair (2/43 off 10 overs) troubled India in the middle overs, putting the skids on the free scoring from their opening pair.

Mair and Hannah Rowe (2/52) combined in the middle overs to remove Yastika Bhatia (19) and Mithali Raj (23), respectively, with the smart work of Frankie Mackay bringing the downfall of Harmanpreet Kaur (13), catching the right-hander out of her ground with a quick return throw.

But Deepti Sharma (69 not out) resurrected the innings, playing with a mix of power and patience to help the visitors post an imposing total.

Sharma hit seven boundaries and a six in her run-a-ball knock, with Sneh Rana the only player at No. 7 or below to reach double figures.

New Zealand's chase kept taking blows throughout the innings, though Down kept her calm. She put on 76 with Katey Martin and 33 with Frances Mackay as the hosts finally managed to secure the series.

The fourth ODI of the series will be played on February 22.

Brief scores: India Women 279 in 49.3 overs (Sabbhineni Meghana 61, Shafali Verma 51, Deepti Sharma 69 not out; Hannah Rowe 2/52) lost to New Zealand Women 280/7 in 49.1 overs (Amelia Kerr 67, Amy Satterthwaite 59, Lauren Down 64 not out; Jhulan Goswami 3/47) by three wickets.


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