Harmanpreet Kaur’s fighting half-century went in vain as India lost their first match of the ongoing Women’s World Cup.
The Indian women’s cricket team lost to hosts New Zealand by 62 runs at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 in Hamilton on Thursday.
Chasing 260, Harmanpreet Kaur waged a lone battle with a gritty 71 off 63 as India were bundled out for 198 in 46.4 overs.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr starred with both bat and ball, scoring a fifty and taking three wickets. She now has four fifties and a hundred in her last five matches against India.
But it was Amy Satterthwaite who was named Player of the Match for her impressive 75-run knock.
The loss saw India drop to fifth in the points table, behind Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa. Only the top four progress to the knockouts.
Against the Kiwis, India faced a monumental task in the pursuit as only Australia had chased more than 260 in the history of the Women’s World Cup.
With an asking rate of just over five, India Women were put on the backfoot early on with Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma getting out cheaply. India were left reeling at 26/2 after 10 powerplay overs.
World Cup debutant Yastika Bhatia and the experienced skipper Mithali Raj were starting to build a partnership when the White Ferns struck again to dismiss Yastika.
“Back to back wickets put a lot of pressure because we didn’t have batters who can take it deep,” Mithali Raj admitted.
The difficult start meant India had just 75 runs on the board after 25 overs and the required run-rate climbed up to 7.44.
Amelia Kerr then took two wickets in two balls – first dismissing Mithali Raj then trapping Richa Ghosh with a googly – to reduce India to 97/5.
Despite the constant change of batters on the other end, Harmanpreet Kaur held fort for the visitors. She struck six fours and a six before falling to Amelia Kerr.
The lower order also challenged the Kiwi bowlers but India eventually were all out for 198.
“Our batting, especially the top and middle order needs to fire because other teams are posting 250-260,” Mithali Raj, who is playing in a record sixth World Cup, added.
Earlier, New Zealand Women, in contrast to India, scored runs at a brisk pace despite losing wickets at regular intervals.
India gave a lifeline to Amelia Kerr on seven and she went on to score another fine half-century.
Amelia swept and cut her way to a crucial partnership with left-hander Amy Satterthwaite, adding 67 runs for the third wicket to take New Zealand past 100 runs.
Although Amelia Kerr was out as soon as she hit the 50-run milestone, Satterthwaite continued to pound the Indian bowlers to all sides of the field, hitting nine boundaries.
Amy Satterthwaite scored 75 before Pooja Vastrakar provided the breakthrough at 224/5 in 43 overs.
The scoring rate took a dip after Amy’s wicket, courtesy of some tight bowling and perfect field placement by the Indian bowlers.
Pooja Vastrakar took four wickets and Jhulan Goswami scalped one to become the joint-highest wicket-taker at the Women’s World Cup with 39 wickets.
The last five wickets fell for just 31 runs as New Zealand ended with 260/9, which, in the end, proved enough to guide them to victory.
India will now face West Indies on Saturday.
New Zealand vs India, Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, brief scores: New Zealand 260/9 (Amy Satterthwaite 75, Amelia Kerr 50; Pooja Vastrakar 4/34, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2/46) beat India 198 all out (Harmanpreet Kaur 71; Lea Tahulu 3/17, Amelia Kerr 3/56) by 62 runs.
By Aarish Ansari
Photo : olympics.com
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