Loss of Smriti Mandhana’s wicket in the 16th over was the turning point of India’s third T20 match against New Zealand which they lost by 2 runs.
India was cruising at the end of 15th over with a score of 123/3 and needing another 39 runs off 30 deliveries with Mandhana going strong at 86 and seasoned Mithali Raj at 10, giving her company but the 16th over bowled by Sophie Devine changed the course of the match.
Devine took Mandhana’s wicket and gave only two runs in that over. Mandhana scored 86 off 62 deliveries and till the time she was at the crease, India was in the hunt but lost the momentum after she departed.
India made a steady start, scoring 56 for 1 in the first six overs with Mandhana doing the bulk of scoring and Rodrigues giving her good support at the other end. Mandhana, who scored 12 fours and a six in her innings, tore into the New Zealand attack.
She scored 15 runs in the 10th over bowled by Rosemary Mair with three hits to the fence. But wickets continued to fall at the other end. First, Punia went for 1 run, stumped by Katey Martin off Leigh Kasperek and then Rodrigues was out when she played a lofted shot off Devine and Satterthwaite took a simple catch. She scored 21 off 17 deliveries.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur had another disappointing day at the office when holed out to Anna Peterson off Kerr for 4.
This T20 series has been bad for Harmanpreet both as a skipper and as a batsman. She scored 17, 5 and 2 in three T20 matches and lost the series 3-0 as a captain.
India needed 16 runs off the last over but managed only 13 and lost the match by 2 runs. Mithali Raj scored a steady unbeaten 24 off 20 balls and Deepti Sharma remained unbeaten at 21 off 16 balls but they could not win the match for India.
For New Zealand, Sophie Devine was the most successful bowler with 2 for 21. She was declared the player of the match and player of the series.
Earlier, New Zealand scored a fighting 161 for 7 in their allotted 20 overs, the total looked short by 10-15 runs till the time Mandhana was at the crease. Opener Devine was their highest scorer with 72 off 52 balls.
Captain Satterthwaite, with 31 off 23 balls, and Bates, with 24 off 18 deliveries, were the other useful contributors. For India, Deepti Sharma took 2 wickets while Poonam Yadav, Mansi Joshi, Arundhati Reddy & Radhika Yadav chipped in with one wicket each.