indian women's team

New Zealand's Lea Tahuhu celebrates the wicket of Jemimah Rodrigues during the first women's Twenty20 International match between India and New Zealand at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand on Feb. 6. (Surjeet Yadav/IANS photo)

WELLINGTON — A disciplined performance with the ball and on field pressure helped New Zealand outsmart India by 23 runs in the opening Twenty20 International match here Feb. 7.

Although Smriti Mandhana struck the fastest Twenty20 International half-century, getting to the mark in 24 deliveries, a disciplined performance helped New Zealand fight back to claim victory.

When Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues added 58 runs in the Powerplay, India seemed well on course to chase down the target of 160.

But Kiwi pacer Lea Tahuhu (3/20), and spinners Leigh Kasperek (2/25) and Amelia Kerr (2/28) fought back, and with the fielders holding on to the chances they were offered, the hosts pulled off a stunning victory.

Hannah Rowe's catch off Mandhana proved to be the game-changer, as India collapsed from 102/1 to 136 all out after that. The middle order offered no resistance, and when captain Harmanpreet Kaur was stumped trying to charge down the ground, India's hopes disappeared.

Earlier, New Zealand's total had been set up by Sophie Devine. After the hosts were put in to bat, Devine led the charge in partnerships of 36 with debutant Caitlin Gurrey (15) and 69 with Amy Satterthwaite (33 off 27 balls).

For India, Deepti Sharma, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav and Poonam Yadav scalped one wicket each.

With this victory, the hosts have taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Brief scores: New Zealand: 159/4 (Sophie Devine 62; Deepti Sharma 1/19) against India: 136/10 (Smriti Mandhana 58; Lea Tahuhu 3/20)

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