Captain Kaur Muscles India to Win in WT20 Opener vs New Zealand
- India claim a 34-run win against New Zealand in the opening game of the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 in West Indies.
- Captain Harmanpreet Kaur blasts the first century by an Indian in women’s T20Is, as India smash the highest total in Women’s WT20 history.
- IND (194/5, Kaur 103, Rodrigues 59, Tahuhu 2/18) beat NZ (160/9, Bates 67, Hemalatha 3/26, Poonam Yadav 3/33) in Group B opener at Guyana.
A spectacular 49-ball century from captain Harmanpreet Kaur, followed by a wicket-laden display from the spinners, took India to a 34-run win in their opening game at the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 against New Zealand at Guyana.
Kaur’s record-breaking hundred – a first for India in women’s T20Is – set India on their way in the tournament opener, as her team finished on 194/5, the highest total in Women’s WT20 history.
It proved a little too much for New Zealand, who ended on 160/9 despite a half century from Suzie Bates at the top of the order.
The hitting was incredible, and the sixes unbelievably monstrous, as Harmanpreet recorded what was only the third century in the competition’s nine-year existence to provide a sensational start to the first standalone edition of the Women’s WT20.
The 29-year-old smashed 103 off just 51 balls, with eight sixes decorating a carnage similar to her extraordinary 171* against Australia in the semi-final of the 50-over World Cup in 2017.
The start, however, wasn’t all that promising for the Indians. Having opted to bat after winning the toss at the Providence Stadium, Harmanpreet found herself in the middle inside the Powerplay, with her team precariously placed at 40/3 in 5.4 overs.
She joined the promising Jemimah Rodrigues, and together with the 18-year-old altered the course of the match.
Two sixes off Jess Watkin in the 10th over set Harmanpreet on her way, as India reached 76/3 at the halfway stage. The remaining ten overs would produce a staggering 118 runs.
No corner of the Providence was left unconquered, with the Indian skipper taking a particular liking to the arc from long-off to deep mid-wicket.
Teen prodigy Jemimah played with a maturity above her years as she became the youngest player to score a fifty at the World T20, in what was her maiden appearance at a global event.
Jemimah and Harmanpreet shared a 134-run fourth-wicket stand, India’s highest for any wicket in all T20Is.
New Zealand’s response to the mammoth total began in spirited fashion, with Suzie Bates and Anna Peterson combining to take the score to 51/0 at the end of the Powerplay overs.
Debutant Dayalan Hemalatha found a breakthrough by removing Peterson, and the Indian spinners capitalised to leave the experienced Bates out of partners.
The 31-year-old would become the highest run-getter in T20Is through the course of her 50-ball 67, but twin strikes from Poonam Yadav, along with a second for Hemalatha, saw the White Ferns down to 93/4 in the 13th over.
The big wicket of Bates arrived soon, when she hit a low full-toss from Arundhati Reddy straight to backward point.
The dismissal effectively ended New Zealand’s fight, with Hemalatha and Poonam both finishing with three wickets apiece. Radha Yadav, too, scalped two as the Kiwis finished on 160/9 – eight of those wickets falling to spin.
The vitality of the win cannot be understated: New Zealand are the second-highest ranked side in T20Is, and with Australia also in Group B, and only the top-two qualifying for the semis, India have given themselves a shot in the arm at the first hurdle.
India now set their sights on arch-rivals Pakistan, who they face at the same venue on Sunday, 11 November.
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