by Elton Gomes
Dayalan Hemalatha (3-26) and Poonam Yadav (3-33) starred with the ball as India defeated New Zealand by 34 runs in the opening match of the Women’s World T20 at the the Providence Stadium in Guyana on Friday.
After a remarkable display with the bat, a combined bowling effort helped India restrict New Zealand to 160 for nine in 20 overs. Chasing a healthy target of 195, New Zealand were off to a solid start, but lost momentum midway in the match after losing three wickets in quick succession.
The Indian spinners put on a superb display in the middle overs, and did not allow the batters to score runs freely. Suzie Bates (67) was the top scorer for New Zealand. Katey Martin (39) played a brilliant knock but failed to take her team across the line. Radha Yadav (2-31) and Arundhati Reddy (1-36) were the other wicket takers for India.
India looked solid right from the start, with Taniya Bhatia dispatching Jess Watkin for two consecutive fours off the first two balls of the match. However, Bhatia had to soon return to the pavilion after being bowled off by Lea Tahuhu in the first ball of the second over. 18-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues then came in at the crease.
It was Rodrigues who laid the foundation for the Indian innings. The young batter from Mumbai played an important role in every partnership with the Indian batters who followed. India rarely look troubled, but they soon lost the wicket of the other opener Smriti Mandhana, who was caught at deep square leg fielder Hayley Jensen.
Coming in at number four, Dayalan Hemalatha was able to stay at the crease for only the next seven balls, though she racked up fifteen runs in that short period. However, the Indian innings only went upwards from this point on, as captain Harmanpreet Kaur led from the front.
Kaur put on a spectacular show at the crease, and no New Zealand bowler was spared of her onslaught. With Rodrigues providing ample support at the other end, Kaur cleared the boundaries easily.
New Zealand started strong as well, with 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. However, Bates never really had support at the other end. She began losing partners, starting with the wicket of Anna Paterson, a short while after the duo brought up the 50-run partnership.
At 93-4, the pressure was on New Zealand, and it was only a matter of time before Bates was dismissed, caught by Hemalatha off the bowling of Arundhati Reddy. After Bates’ dismissal, New Zealand look uninspired and never got back in the game.
Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues power India to win
Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues got together to break records in their Women’s World T20 opener against New Zealand.
Kaur and Rodrigues stitched together a record 134-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Indian openers lost their wickets quite cheaply, with debutant Dayalan Hemalatha being the only one to score double figures.
Kaur scored a 51-ball 103. Her outstanding innings was laced with seven boundaries and eight sixes. Kaur anchored India though she lost the support of Rodrigues, who was was dismissed for 59 off 45 balls. Kaur won the Player of the Match award for her innings.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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