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Wisden Cricinfo staff
December 16, 2003
New Zealand Women 187 for 8 (Fahey 66, Browne 53, Kulkarni 4-34) beat India Women 186 for 5 (Sharma 59, Jain 51, Raj 30, Corbin 3-39) by two wickets
The last game of the five-match series between India Women and New Zealand Women was the most exciting of the lot, as the New Zealanders took their side to victory off the last ball. Chasing 187 to win, they looked out of the game when Nicola Browne was out for 53 with the score on 169 for 8, and only eight balls left in the game. Eighteen in eight - could they do it? Anna Corbin and Rebecca Steele certainly thought so.
The two tailenders - lower-order batswomen would be more apt, perhaps - hustled the runs and just about got there in time. Corbin made 18 off 15, with two boundaries, while Steele made 8 off six balls. Four down in the series, the New Zealanders played with rare intensity to avoid a whitewash.
Earlier, India Women were asked to bat first after Maia Lewis won the toss, and they took all of 50 overs to make 186 for 5. The openers were cheifly responsible for the snail's pace at which the innings progressed. Jaya Sharma and Anju Jain batted at a strike-rate of around 50 - they faced 101 balls each, and while Sharma made 59, Jain made 51. Sharma retired hurt on 56 when the score was 104, but returned later in the slog overs, without making much of an impact.
Mithali Raj, Player of the Match in the previous one-dayer, made 30 off 54, with two boundaries, but just when she seemed set to raise the tempo, she was caught by Maria Fahey off Corbin's bowling. Corbin eventually finished with 3 for 39.
New Zealand Women had a disastrous start to their innings, sliding to 59 for 5 at around the halfway stage of the match. Jhulan Goswami took two early wickets, and Deepa Kulkarni, who finished with 4 for 34, kept the pressure up. Fahey then made a gritty 66, off 113 balls, and was ably supported by Browne, whose 53 came off just 66 balls, and included three fours and two sixes. But Fahey was out in the 37th over, and Browne in the 49th. India Women seemed to have completed a whitewash by then, but the fat lady had not yet started singing. Corbin and Steele saw to that.
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