Player of the Match
Player of the Match

India smashed out of game by Kiwis

New Zealand were left scratching their heads over the Indian attitude to their batting effort in their 74-run loss at the BIL Oval at Lincoln University today.

The Indians lost three early wickets for 37 runs in their bid to head New Zealand's 224/5, and while Smitha Harikrishna and Chandrakanta Kaul added 51 runs for the fourth wicket, once they were parted the fight went out of the Indians.

They then seemed to decide to give their lower-order batsmen some time in the middle against reasonable opposition, all of which took the interest out of the match.

As games go, it was shaping as a thriller for three-quarters of its duration, but then it fell completely flat.

Fortunately, for one of the best crowds to a game in the tournament, there was plenty to savour from New Zealand's batting.

It is rare in any form of cricket to see a single player take such control of a game as Haidee Tiffen managed during the last 12 overs of the New Zealand innings.

Remembering that she was dropped before she was caught, a sizzling tracer bullet of a shot to mid-off, her 50 from 36 balls, it was the most dominating innings of the tournament so far.

New Zealand's innings was progressing reasonably well after Anna O'Leary and Debbie Hockley had built momentum up after coming together with their side 34/2.

Ninety-two runs were added by the pair, in which time Hockley registered her first half century of the tournament. When she cover drove a boundary to bring up her 50, she also became the first woman in the world to record 4000 One-Day International runs.

But she was then caught at the wicket by Anju Jain off the faintest of edges.

Rather than taking time to settle in with the score at 126 in the 38th over, Tiffen shot a charge of electricity through the innings. O'Leary who, had been scoring at just over one run an over was 43 not out.

With Tiffen running between the wickets as smoothly as a well-tuned Rolls Royce, compared to the clapped out Morris Minors who have been trying to run, with disastrous effect, in some teams in the earlier games in the tournament, O'Leary lifted her batting by a couple of gears.

While she had taken 68 balls to score 17 runs, O'Leary scored her last 72 off 78 balls and was out for 89 in the last over.

When New Zealand's campaign is reviewed however, there is potentially likely to be a significant place for the Tiffen innings. She provided a memorable example of what can be achieved with positive thinking.

The moment she applied her foot to the pedal, the Indian fielding disintegrated. The power of her strokeplay was combined with sweet timing and an elegance that is all too rarely seen in the women's game.

Things may be about to change. New Zealand Cricket with its development plans for the game around the country could not have wished for a better advertisement for the virtues of women's cricket.

"We just wanted to get a big score," Tiffen said.

"We set little targets. We wanted to get to 180, then 200, and to get to 224 was great.

"When I was dropped off the first ball I faced I said to myself, 'Let's make them pay for it'.

"Mike Shrimpton, our coach, just said to me to play my natural game. I noticed the ring field was up for me so I tried to go over the top. Then when they were back we started to run."

Tiffen said she had worked on her running between the wickets throughout the winter.

"It all came off for me. I like running between the wickets and putting pressure on the field," she said.

It wasn't half obvious.

Captain Emily Drumm was delighted with the way the innings picked up. She said the side felt it had strength in its batting order and it was nice to be able to show it.

"The situation was perfect for Haidee. There were 12 overs to go and it suited her game. She and Anna are two really quick runners between the wickets and the Indians were a little sloppy in the field.

"When they came together the innings was then either going to teeter India's way or be a case of us exploding. We exploded and India had no answer.

"We had the two leopards running between the wickets.

"We were disappointed by their run chase and India let themselves down a bit. But that is for them to worry about.

"It takes the pressure off us now," she said.

New Zealand's remaining games are against England and South Africa.