Bates fifty helps New Zealand pull off last-ball win to clinch T20I series



Suzie Bates led the New Zealand batting effort © Getty Images

New Zealand women 136 for 6 (Bates 62, Reddy 2-22, Radha 2-23) beat India women 135 for 6 (Rodrigues 72, Mandhana 36, Mair 2-17) by four wickets

It could have gone either way, but New Zealand made the most of a few Indian lapses on the field and held their nerve just a shade better than their opponents to clinch a last-ball win in the second T20I.

The four-wicket win, achieved with a quick single, gave New Zealand a 2-0 lead in the three-match series, after they had won the first convincingly by 23 runs.

Batting first after losing the toss, India put up 135 for six, lower than they had within their range when Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues were stroking the ball freely early on.

After pulling things back nicely, New Zealand had Suzie Bates leading a strong top-order show before a clutch of wickets brought India back into the match. But a series of misses on the field, especially from wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia, allowed New Zealand to stay in the hunt, keeping the target within their grasp, and pull off victory despite a good last over from Mansi Joshi.

Jemimah Rodrigues was India’s top scorer © Getty Images

Chasing 136, the old firm of Bates and Sophie Devine gave New Zealand a 33-run opening-wicket stand in just 4.4 overs before Devine was sent back by Radha Yadav, bowled off her inside edge. Caitlin Gurrey fell soon after, but Bates and captain Amy Satterthwaite put the chase back on the rails with a stroke-filled 61-run stand for the third wicket.

Both of them found the boundary often enough, and with the 100 of the innings coming up in 11.2 overs, it looked like a stroll to the finish line for New Zealand. But Poonam Yadav first accounted for Satterthwaite, and a double-wicket over from Arundhati Reddy – including the scalp of Bates, for a 52-ball 62 – changed the script completely.

It came down to 15 needed from two overs and, then, nine from six balls, which became five from five after Katey Martin smashed Joshi’s first ball through the covers for four. But Joshi bowled Martin next ball, and then there was a lot of scrambling, an overthrow, shies at the stumps that just went wide, and Hannah Rowe finished it off with a quick single after playing the last ball to the backward point region.

The first half of the match belonged to Rodrigues and, to a lesser extent, Mandhana. New opening bat Priya Punia had another disappointing outing, but Mandhana, in the form of her life, got together with Rodrigues to put together 63 quick runs in just over seven overs. When she fell, becoming Rosemary Mair‘s first victim of the day, India were at a solid 71 for two in the tenth over.

But with no batter giving Rodrigues the support she needed – none of the others got into double figures – India couldn’t quite build on the platform Mandhana and Rodrigues had provided. Rodrigues, on 31 when Mandhana fell, went on to score her fifth T20I half-century and batted till the penultimate over, ending with 72 in 53 balls, with six fours and a six.

But with just 63 runs coming after the halfway mark compared to 72 in the first ten overs, India might have finished around ten runs short, which made the difference in the end.

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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