Queens own town, for once
Queenstown, February 24
Harmanpreet Kaur ended her run of poor scores as the Indian women’s cricket team finally beat New Zealand in the series-ending fifth ODI for a consolation win here today.
The Indian bowling attack, which has been quite toothless on the tour, finally got its act together to limit New Zealand to 251 for nine in 50 overs. India chased the down the target in 46 overs, courtesy Harmanpreet’s 63 off 66 balls and Smriti Mandhana’s 71 off 84 balls. Skipper Mithali Raj remained unbeaten on 57 off 66 balls.
Having lost the one-off T20I and the first four ODIs, India badly needed a win to before the ODI World Cup, which begins on March 4.
The spinners, who have struggled on the tour, shared seven wickets among themselves today. Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Sneh Rana took two wickets each while pacer Meghna Singh picked up 1/22 in five overs.
Star batter Mandhana, who had missed the first three ODIs and the lone T20I due to an extended stay in quarantine, also got valuable time in the middle. The ICC Women’s Cricketer for 2021 struck nine fours in her 84-ball effort.
Harmanpreet must be relieved after scoring her first fifty in close to 12 months. She was dropped from the previous game after scores of 12, 10, 10 and 13 in the previous games.
She used the sweep shot effectively to collect a bunch of boundaries before reaching her half-century with a pull. “We have improved over the last few games we have played, that’s a good sign before the World Cup. Was important to have the right preparation before the big tournament,” Mithali said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t get the camps in India due to the rising Omicron cases”
“Something we need to work more on is our fielding. When I retire after this tournament (World Cup), I will see that the squad is far more stronger with the upcoming new talent,” she added. —
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