Sports

New Zealand hold nerve to seal series in last-ball thriller

New Zealand Women sealed the Twenty20 International series with a thrilling four-wicket win over India in the second T20I in Auckland, that saw the hosts scale the target of 136 off the last ball. Suzie Bates scored 62 off 52 balls in her 110th women’s T20I, courtesy which New Zealand seemed to have set themselves up for an easy chase, but a late batting collapse inflicted by some brilliant bit of bowling by India, saw them scrape to the target with a stuttered last-ball single. All that after restricting India to a very modest 135 for 6 in 20 overs.

Bates and Amy Satterthwaite put on 61 runs for the third wicket after Radha Yadav had reduced them to 40 for 2, but thanks to the partnership, they were cruising towards the target at 101 for 2 in 14.3 overs. Poonam Yadav’s wicket of Satterthwaite at a crucial moment then gave India a foot in the door. Bates fell in the 18th over to Arundhati Reddy, who also picked Anna Peterson for a duck a delivery later.

New Zealand needed 14 runs off the final two overs but a superb penultimate over by Deepti Sharma, where she conceded only four runs, meant New Zealand found themselves with nine runs to get in the final over.

Mansi Joshi, in the side for Anuja Patil, conceded a boundary through covers to Katey Martin off the first ball of the last over but came back very well the next ball to get Martin, bowled. Hannah Rowe scraped through for a couple of runs the next ball, and followed it up with three tight, sharply-judged singles that laid bare India’s nerves through fielding lapses, and got her side home.

That India had to work so hard towards the end was because of another batting meltdown earlier, after New Zealand opted to chase at the pint-sized Eden Park in Auckland. India lost Priya Punia to Sophie Devine in the third over, but what followed was an authoritative 63-run stand between Jemimah Rodrigues and Smriti Mandhana.

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