India women avoided a clean sweep of the ODI series in New Zealand by putting up an all-around performance to chase down a target of 252 with 6 wickets and 4 overs remaining.
Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, and Harmanpreet Kaur led the way as India won the one-day international series 1-4. It was also India’s first win on their New Zealand trip after five straight defeats, including the lone T20I.
With less than two weeks until the Women’s World Cup 2022, India needed to stop their decline, and the win on Thursday would undoubtedly improve Mithali Raj’s side’s confidence.
While opener Smriti Mandhana, who had just recently returned to the XI for the first time in New Zealand after a lengthy period of seclusion, regained her groove as she set the tone for the good chase.
Despite losing Shafali Verma early in the innings, Smriti batted her way to a respectable 71 off 84 deliveries. She put on a 60-run partnership with Deepti Sharma, after which Smriti and Harmanpreet Kaur placed pressure on the New Zealand spinners with free-flowing runs.
Harmanpreet, who was in urgent need of runs, found form at a critical time for India, as the star batter is expected to impress in the Women’s World Cup. It was lovely to witness Smriti hug Harmanpreet after her T20I skipper smashed a six to show her supremacy in the middle. Harmanpreet blasted six and six boundaries for her 63, while Mithali stayed undefeated on 57 (66 balls) to help India cross the finish line.