Mithali also joined Charlotte Edwards in making 1,000 runs in one-day international cricket against four separate teams: Australia, England, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand.
Indian batting backfired again, with the visitors losing the opening WODI against New Zealand by 62 runs here on Saturday, despite skipper Mithali Raj’s well-crafted half-century. Choosing to bowl, New Zealand scored a difficult 275 thanks to Suzie Bates’ century (106 off 111 balls), while India were all-out for 213 in 49.4 overs and never looked like they were in the chase.
Mithali, who was playing her 221st ODI, kept India in the hunt with a 73-ball 59 (64) that continued her dream form in the format – seven fifties in the last 11 innings in ODIs. In their most recent One-Day International, the Indian women’s team surpassed Australia’s previous high of 265 set in September of last year, ending their rivals’ 26-match winning streak.
Mithali also joined Charlotte Edwards in scoring 1,000 runs in one-day international cricket against four separate teams: Australia, England, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand. She also became the first Indian woman to score 1000 runs in one-day internationals against New Zealand.
Mithali received excellent support from left-hander Yastika Bhatia, who batted at No 3 and scored a 63-ball 41 as the two combined 88 runs in their comeback act. But she fell to a short ball from Hayley Jensen (2/36) to start the Indian collapse, which was completed by Jess Kerr’s match-winning 4/35 as India were bowled out for 213 in 49.4 overs, losing the five-match ODI series 0-1.
On February 9, India had lost the one-off T20I by 18 runs in the series opener. India also paid a price for Harmanpreet Kaur’s poor form, as she failed to make it big after her exploits in the Big Bash, where she was named ‘Player of the Tournament,’ perishing for a 22-ball 10.
Her previous fifty came against South Africa in March 2021, and her last five innings scores were a dismal 10, 16, 19, 1, and 30 not out, casting a bleak picture for India ahead of the World Cup, which begins on March 4 here. The absence of their star batter Smriti Mandhana, who is serving a prolonged controlled isolation and quarantine, harmed India tremendously once again, particularly in their attempt to break the 275-run mark.
With southpaw Yastika Bhatia down to No 3 and Meghana partnering Shafali Verma up front, there was no longer a left-right opening combination. Meghana, who was rewarded for her outstanding T20I performance (a 30-ball 37 at No. 4) the other day, was wary to begin with as India’s run chase began with 12 dot balls, courtesy of Tahuhu and Jess Kerr’s maiden overs.
Her shaky batting (four from 14 balls) came to an end in the fifth over when she edged one to the slips as Shafali (12 from 16b) became agitated and lbw in a soft manner. Richa Ghosh, the wicketkeeper batter, played a cameo of 27 balls and 22 runs, but India’s run chase faded out after she was dismissed with a fine stumping.
With veteran opener Suzie Bates’s brilliant 11th ODI century, New Zealand were looking for a total of 300 or more, but India came back hard, taking the last five wickets for 25 runs to bowl them out for 275 in 48.1 overs. Suzie took advantage of the reprieve she received on 14 when Rajeshwari Gayakwad dropped her at point off Pooja Vastrakar’s bowling to smash a magnificent 106 off 111 balls, studded with ten boundaries.
Suzie’s 38th fifty came in 66 balls, her first ODI half-century since January 2020, bringing her level with Debbie Hockley, another White Ferns great.
With a single off Poonam Yadav, she completed her triple in 107 balls, and in the next over, she made her intentions apparent with a back foot pull for a boundary against Deepti Sharma.