Harmanpreet Ton Helps India Start Women’s Worl…

India registered a 34-run win over New Zealand in the opening match of the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 match in Guyana, courtesy a scintillating 51-ball 103 by Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur.

India set the tone from the very first ball, with Taniya Bhatia dispatching Jess Watkin for two consecutive fours off the first two balls of the match. But Bhatia was bowled off the first ball of the second over by Lea Tahuhu, which brought 18-year old Jemimah Rodrigues to the crease.

It was Jemimah who laid the foundation for the Indian innings, featuring heavily in every partnership with the Indian batters who followed. The run-rate was never in danger, but India soon lost the wicket of the other opener Smriti Mandhana, who holed out to deep square leg fielder Hayley Jensen.

Number four batter Dayalan Hemalatha could stay at the crease for only the next seven balls, though she racked up fifteen runs in that short-period time. However, the Indian innings only went upwards from this point on, as captain Harmanpreet Kaur came out to bat.

Kaur put on a spectacular show of batting from that point on, and no New Zealand bowler was spared of her onslaught. She cleared the boundaries easily, and with Jemimah Rodrigues providing ample support at the other end, Kaur gave herself the license to go all out.

Between the sixth and nineteenth overs, the duo took India’s score from 40 to 174. Jemimah Rodrigues’ innings of 59 off 45 balls included seven fours, and even as she perished off the bowling of Jess Watkin through a sharp stumping by Katey Martin, Kaur still stood at the other end.

The Indian captain’s innings of 103 saw sixes outnumbering fours, as she hit eight sixes, one more than the number of times she found the boundary rope. The leather hunt for the New Zealand bowlers ended when she was caught behind off the bowling of Sophie Devine, and India soon ended their innings on 194-5.

New Zealand started with intent as well, Suzie Bates meting out the same treatment to Arundhati Reddy that Bhatia had given Watkins with a four off the first ball of the innings. But in a theme that continued for the duration of the New Zealand innings, Bates started losing partners at the other end, starting with the wicket of Anna Paterson just as the duo brought up the 50-run partnership.

After 21 more runs were added to the score, New Zealand lost the wickets of Sophie Devine and Jess Watkin, both off the bowling of Poonam Yadav. Captain Amy Satterthwaite could also only register three runs off nine balls, and was caught by Veda Krishnamurthy off the bowling of Dayalan Hemalatha.

At 93-4, New Zealand were feeling the pressure and it was only a matter of time before key batter Bates was dismissed, caught by Hemalatha off the bowling of Arundhati Reddy. New Zealand were insipid from this point on and could never really recover from the situation.

Barring the odd boundary from wicket-keeper Katey Martin, India were in control of proceedings from this point on. Martin perished soon for 39 runs. Leigh Kasperek and Hayley Jensen were the victims off the second last and last ball of the New Zealand innings, as they ended their innings on 160-9, with India getting off to a successful start in their women’s world T20 campaign.