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Wisden Cricinfo staff
December 10, 2003
India 211 for 4 (Raj 59) beat New Zealand 206 for 7 (Tiffen 56, Fahey 52) by 5 runs
New Zealand's hopes of staging a comeback in this series against India went up in smoke as they lost a close match by five runs. Just when they needed upmost calm to score 10 runs in the last two overs, New Zealand panicked and failed to finish the job. The crowd at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore - mostly school girls - witnessed India scrape through in the final stages and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
Chasing 212 for victory, the New Zealand openers set off well with a 65-run opening stand. Kate Pulford's aggression was matched by Maria Fahee's patience as they sped along at five runs-per-over. But the introduction of Deepa Kulkarni and Neetu David, the left-arm spinners, resulted in a shift of momentum as four wickets tumbled with the scoring rate reduced to a crawl.
Maia Lewis, the captain, fell when 70 runs were still needed in 57 balls, but Haidee Tiffen and Sarah McGlashan (26 off 22) blended crisp swinging with unorthodox swiping, and gave New Zealand a great chance of pulling one match back in the series. But they were both run-out at crucial moments and the rest wilted under some sustained pressure.
The Indian batting continued to put up a consistent performance with Jaya Sharma (43) - the star of the last two matches - and Anju Jain (37) adding 82. Mithali Raj and Anjum Chopra built on the firm foundation, as they put on 107 without taking any undue risks. Raj found the gaps with ease and delighted the crowd with some stand-and-deliver hoicks, and Chopra pulled out a few elegant straight drives as India finished on a competitive note.
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