India Women 166 for 2 (Mandhana 90*, Raj 63*) beat New Zealand Women 161 (Satterthwaite 71, Goswami 3-23) by eight wickets
Smriti Mandhana was a thorn in New Zealand's side again, this time with Mithali Raj for company, as she scored big for a second game in a row - she has passed 50 eight times in her last ten ODIs - to lead India to an eight-wicket win in the second Women's Championship game in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday.
The win, though, was set up by India's bowlers, who, after Raj opted to field first, shot the home side out for 161 in 44.2 overs. Amy Satterthwaite, the New Zealand captain, did her bit by scoring 71, but there was little of note apart from her innings as India dominated proceedings. Jhulan Goswami had the best returns among the Indian bowlers, but it was a combined effort, with all the frontline bowlers getting among the wickets.
With a small target in front of them, India started poorly, losing Jemimah Rodrigues for a duck in the second over and Deepti Sharma for eight not much later. But that's where it ended for New Zealand, as Mandhana and Raj put together an unbroken stand of 151 runs to take India to the target in just 35.2 overs.
The two played dramatically contrasting innings. On a slowish track, Mandhana looked untroubled, knocking the ball around initially, and then picking up speed to score at around a run-a-ball for the best part of her innings. She finished with 90 against her name, scored off 83 balls with 13 fours and a six. It was enough to earn her a second consecutive Player-of-the-match award.
Raj, on the other hand, went at a strike-rate of under 30 for the large part, and even survived a few close calls, before scoring at a higher clip as India closed in. She finished the game with her second six, hit down the ground off Amelie Kerr. She ended on 63 from 111 balls.
India's spinners had done all the damage in the first game, but the pacers played their parts well in the second, Goswami striking thrice and Shikha Pandey once. That said, the spin trio of Ekta Bisht, Deepti and Poonam Yadav weren't to be left behind, each picking up two wickets and making sure New Zealand didn't get away in the middle overs.
Goswami struck first, sending back the dangerous Suzie Bates for a four-ball duck in the first over, when she had the batsman caught behind. Sophie Devine, the other opener, didn't last too long either, Pandey trapping her in front in the fourth over.
"The bowlers have been doing well," Raj said after the match. Initially a lot of people asked me if spinners can turn the match around on these wickets. The spinners have been doing well since the first match. Smriti has been scoring runs, as has Jemimah. So, overall the team looks good. The fast bowlers were supported by the spinners in the middle overs. The batting hasn't been tested but in a way it's good because whoever gets the opportunity are making use of it."
Satterthwaite led a fightback, first adding 25 for the third wicket with Lauren Down and then, after Bisht and Poonam had reduced New Zealand to 62 for 5, 58 for the sixth with Leigh Kasperek.
Satterthwaite hit nine fours in her 87-ball knock, but Poonam had her in the 34th over. Kasperek hung around to score 21, until Goswami returned to send her back. The innings didn't last too long thereafter, though Bernadine Bezuidenhout (13) and Lea Tahuhu (12) did well to push the total past 160.
The third ODI will be played at Hamilton's Seddon Park on Friday, with New Zealand hoping to bounce back after two big defeats - by nine wickets in the first game and by eight wickets in the second.