HAMILTON: Hosts New Zealand inflicted India’s first defeat of the Women’s Cricket World Cup yesterday, racing to a 62-run win in Hamilton. India’s bowlers did well to limit New Zealand to 260-9 but were let down by a limp batting display that left them well short of the target. The result leaves India, who scored a 107-run win over Pakistan in their tournament opener, fifth in the eight-team leaderboard after two matches. New Zealand, who have played one more match, are second. “Losing wickets back to back put a lot of pressure on us because we didn’t have a batter who dared to take the team through,” Indian captain Mithali Raj said.
Raj made 31 but Harmanpreet Kaur was the only Indian batter to offer any real resistance with 71 from 63 balls. Amy Satterthwaite set the tone for New Zealand with 75 off 84 balls, while fast-bowling allrounder Pooja Vastrakar was India’s star performer, taking 4-34. Raj’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss paid early dividends when Suzie Bates was run out for five.
Bates, who scored a match-winning 79 not out against Bangladesh, took off for a quick single but was left stranded by a superb throw from Vastrakar. Vastrakar’s four-wicket haul played a vital role in containing New Zealand’s batters when they threatened to post a huge total. New Zealand captain Sophie Devine edged her to the keeper for 35 but Amelia Kerr kept up the host nation’s run rate with a half century.
The New Zealand top order all made good starts, with Satterthwaite’s 75 the highlight, and an imposing score looked likely as they entered the last 10 overs at 211-4. But Vastrakar spearheaded an effective fightback by the Indian attack to restrict New Zealand to just 35 off the last five overs, despite aggressive batting from Katey Martin, who finished on 41. New Zealand bowler Lea Tahuhu took 3-17 to restrict India’s run chase, with Kerr contributing 3-56. – AFP