XtraTime Web Desk: Indian opener Smriti Mandhana’s sensational record-breaking half-century went in vain as the Indian women’s team lost to New Zealand by 23 runs in the opening T20 International here on Wednesday.
Mandhana hammered 58 off just 34 deliveries — the fastest fifty for India in Women’s T20Is — to better her own record of a fifty in 25 balls, which she created last year against England.
However, Kiwi pacer Lea Tahuhu crippled India’s chase with figures of 3 for 20 as India folded for 136 in 19.1 overs.
Leg-spinner Amelia Kerr (2/28) clinched the crucial wickets of Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur to further dent the visitor’s chances. Off-spinner Leigh Kasperek also picked up a brace of wickets.
Meanwhile, Mithali Raj, who was part of the 15-member squad to take on New Zealand in three T20Is, was left out of the playing XI in the series opener.
Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues (39 off 33 balls) added 102 for the second-wicket but failed to inspire their team-mates. And with India slipping from 101/1 to 107/6, the writing was on the wall.
Earlier inserted in to bat, New Zealand rode on opening batswoman Sophie Devine’s 48-ball 62 to put up a challenging 159 for 4 in 20 overs.
Devine hit six boundaries and two sixes and along with skipper Amy Satterthwaite (33 off 27 balls), stitched together a 69-run stand for the third wicket after spinners Radha Yadav and Poonam Yadav had dismissed Suzie Bates (7) and Caitlin Gurrey (15) cheaply to reduce the host side to 47 for 2.
But the Indians failed to cause further damage. The second T20I is scheduled to be held in Auckland on Friday.