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February 11, 2019

Devine helps NZ women to sweep Twenty20 series

Sports

February 11, 2019

HAMILTON: Sophie Devine made her second half-century of the series and backed it up with two wickets as New Zealand completed a two-run win in a thrilling finish to the Twenty20 International series.

India required 16 runs off the final over and Mithali Raj needed to hit a four off the final ball if they had to win the final T20I in Hamilton on Sunday, 10 February, but Leigh Kasperek held her nerve to concede just one run.

A tight 19th over from Devine was as vital, as she conceded just seven runs in their defence of 161-7, as India, despite an entertaining 86 from Smriti Mandhana, finished short on 159/4. Devine, having made 72 off 52 balls, got the big wickets of Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues to finish with 2/21.

It was Mandhana’s second fifty of the series as well, and her fourth fifty-plus score in the last six matches across formats. And again, when she was in the middle, India had the win in sight. Her second-wicket partnership with Jemimah Rodrigues set the tone. They kept the boundaries coming, never letting the required run-rate get out of control, and adjusting well to the constant bowling changes to reach 76 in nine overs.

When Mandhana was finally dismissed, caught by Lea Tahuhu off Devine in the 16th over, the equation was down to 39 needed off 27. However, in the face of tight bowling, it proved too much for India.

The experienced Raj, recalled to the side to provide some stability in the middle order, did exactly that after the wickets of Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur, adding 24 not out off 20, and Deepti Sharma did her bit with 21 not out off 16, including a six, but they couldn’t take their side over the line.

Earlier, choosing to bat, New Zealand raced away to a strong start, with their openers adding 46 in 5.2 overs before Suzie Bates lobbed a catch to Kaur off the bowling of Arundhati Reddy.

Hannah Rowe’s return to the side wasn’t a happy one, as she fell lbw to Poonam Yadav on review. Devine found a stable partner in Amy Satterthwaite though, and the duo went on to add 71 in eight overs.

Devine brought up her second fifty of the series, off 39 balls, reaching the mark with a six and a four off Yadav. She went especially hard at the diminutive leg-spinner, with both her sixes coming off the same bowler.

But just when it looked like New Zealand were on track for a big total, the Indian bowlers pulled things back. Both set batsmen were sent back in consecutive overs: Devine bowled by Mansi Joshi’s pace and Satterthwaite caught in the deep off Radha Yadav. Then, Sharma and Reddy gave away just 14 runs in the last two overs, picking up three wickets to give India a chance.

Scores in brief: New Zealand 161-7 (Devine 72, Satterthwaite 31; Deepti 2-28) beat India 159-4 (Mandhana 86, Raj 24 not out, Deepti 21 not out; Devine 2-21) by two runs.

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