IND-W Vs NZ-W: India Beat New Zealand By 6 Wickets, Avoid Whitewash

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Queenstown: Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Mithali Raj helped India avoid a series whitewash by registering a six-wicket victory over New Zealand in the fifth and final ODI in Queenstown on Thursday.

Mandhana (71 from 84 deliveries) and Kaur (63 from 66) helped pace India’s run chase and Raj (54* from 66) provided the finishing touches, as the visitors successfully chased down New Zealand’s handy total of 251/9 with four overs remaining.

It was India’s only victory of the five-match ODI series, with New Zealand claiming a 4-1 series triumph ahead of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup next month.

With skipper Sophie Devine (34) and in-form batter Amelia Kerr (66) scoring with ease early in proceedings, it looked like the Kiwis were on track to set India an even larger target for victory.

But India’s spinners helped put the clamps on the hosts during the middle overs, with Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2/61), Deepti Sharma (2/42) and Sneh Rana (2/40) picking up six wickets between them to ensure the home side could only scramble past 250 in their final over.

Mandhana got on top of the New Zealand bowlers early in reply, putting the loss of fellow opener Shafali Verma (9) behind her to ensure India stayed well inside the required run rate.

When Mandhana fell in the 29th over it provided New Zealand a glimmer of hope, but Kaur steadied the ship with an excellent knock that put the victory target within sight.

While Kaur fell to Hannah Rowe in the 43rd over, it was too little too late as Raj ensured the visitors cruised home to avoid an embarrassing series whitewash.

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