Spinners, Goswami shine as India defend 142
India Women 142 (Goswami 57, Nielsen 3-24, Tahuhu 3-25, Kasperek 3-39) beat New Zealand Women 125 (Bates 28, Rana 3-26, Harmanpreet 2-16, Bisht 2-18) by 17 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The New Zealand batsmen struggled and scuttled, crawled and scampered, huffed and puffed, and eventually fell short of their target of 143 by 17 runs, unable to tackle the Indian spinners in the first Women's ODI in Bangalore. Even after reducing India to 87 for 8 within 31 overs, New Zealand allowed the hosts to come close to 150, with Jhulan Goswami's maiden ODI fifty, and later struggled to get substantial partnerships going in the chase. The win gives India two crucial points for the ICC Women's Championship as they were at the bottom of the table before the match started.
After medium-pacer Lea Tahuhu and spinners Leigh Kasperek and Morna Nielsen bowled impressively in conditions alien to them, to bundle India out, they needed someone more than just Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine to get going in the chase. Debutant Kasperek fought it out till the end with an unbeaten 21, but she ran out of partners as three wickets from Sneh Rana, and two each from Harmanpreet Kaur and Ekta Bisht bowled them out for 125.
Tight lines from Goswami and a round-the-wicket angle from left-arm spinner Bisht resulted in a slow start for the visitors. Opener Rachel Priest played out 18 dot balls without opening her account and was trapped lbw by Bisht under pressure. Fleetingly, it looked like Bates and Amy Satterthwaite would cruise through the chase when Satterthwaite creamed a drive through the covers in the eighth over and Bates flicked one off her pads in the next, finally taking the run rate over two per over.
But batsmen from both teams could be held accountable for giving their wickets away after going into a shell or hitting full-tosses to fielders. First, Satterthwaite fell to a sharp catch from Smriti Mandhana at short cover and then a mix up between Bates and Kate Broadmore, who also took 13 balls to get off the mark, made the score 38 for 3. New Zealand's biggest blow came within three overs after that when Bates was squared up by Rajeshwari Gayakwad's left-arm spin, which beat her leg-side whip, and ended her patient innings on 28.
The fifth-wicket stand between Katie Perkins and Devine, the only partnership to resist for more than eight overs, shifted the momentum back by nudging the ball in gaps and forcing the fielders to make mistakes. Mithali Raj tried five different bowlers during that and it finally paid off when Perkins was foxed by a back-of-the-hand delivery from Harmanpreet that turned in sharply.
The final dent of the chase came just before the batting Powerplay when Devine cut Harmanpreet straight to backward point for 24. It was only Kasperek's unbeaten knock that kept them alive for a while from there. Anna Peterson missed a wild slog against Rana and Maddy Green handed a full toss back to the same bowler to make it 110 for 8. Even though Tahuhu and Nielsen struck three fours between them to bring the required runs under 20, a run-out and Nielsen's catch to short cover made Kasperek a mere spectator to end the match.
Earlier, Bates lost her sixth consecutive toss in ODIs but she made the most of her bowling resources. Tahuhu's offcutters reaped benefits early when one of them found the gap between Poonam Raut's bat and pad and another deceived Shikha Pandey that was full and quick, to trap her lbw. While Raj looked in good touch from ball one, Mandhana, the other opener, came down the track to break the shackles but was stumped after being beaten in flight by Nielsen. Most of the other wickets were a result of poor shot selection. An almost well-set Raj gave Kasperek her maiden international wicket by smashing a full toss to short midwicket where Perkins took a stunning catch, diving to her right.
Kasperek's flight and drift didn't give India any room to breathe. Harmanpreet swept to glove a catch to the wicketkeeper down the leg side and Veda Krishnamurthy was trapped lbw, also trying to sweep. Fifty-five for 6 became 87 for 8 in no time as Rana and Bisht also gave their wickets away to full-tosses, both off Nielsen.
Goswami's innings included two parts - she first avoided India from being bowled out for under 100 and then pushed it to nearly 150. For her first 45 balls she relied mostly on ones and twos, and once the batting Powerplay started, she switched gears to show how cleanly she could find the gaps when the situation demanded, mainly targeting the spinners.
R Kalpana and Gayakwad, gave her ample support by blocking and leaving plenty outside off for stands of 26 and 29, the top two of the innings. Goswami used her feet to clear the in-field mostly on the leg side and got to her fifty with a four to the square-leg boundary in the 44th over. She followed it by dispatching a full toss to the cow-corner boundary three balls later but was bowled for 57 when she tried to slog Tahuhu, to end the innings on 142.
Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo