Women Cricket

Century by Amelia Kerr propels New Zealand to take a 2-0 lead

Amelia Kerr’s second ODI century and Maddy Green’s half-century helped New Zealand win the second ODI by three wickets. Half-centuries from Raj, Ghosh and Deepti Sharma’s 4 for 52 goes into vain. The match was played on Tuesday (February 15) at John Davis Oval in Queenstown. Indian captain Mithali Raj won the toss and opted to bat first. 

For White Ferns, Amy Satterthwaite led the team instead of Sophie Devine as “contingency planning” ahead of the Women’s World Cup.

The openers Sabbhineni Meghana and Shafali Verma gave India a solid start. In the 6th over, both smashed Jess Kerr for 22 runs which include a six from Verma and 3 consecutive fours from Meghana. The duo went on to make 61 run-stand. However, after being dropped twice,  Verma was caught by Satterthwaite off Rosemary Mair at 24 off 38. 

S Meghana and Yastika Bhatia made a 49 run partnership as Sophie Devine took Bhatia’s (31) wicket, followed by Meghana’s in the next over off Amelia Kerr. She missed her maiden half-century by just one run. One good takeaway for India so far has been Meghana, so it will be interesting to see whether she will be included in further matches and the world cup squad once Smriti Mandhana is back. 

Vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s poor ODI form continues as she became the victim of Fran Jonas’ maiden ODI wicket. Her form has been a bit of a concern for a very long time. Since 2019, she averages- 30.66 with a strike rate of 71. 

Captain Raj played an anchored role, and on the other end, Richa Ghosh played an aggressive role. The duo made 108 run-stand for the fifth wicket. Ghosh added her first ODI half-century and got out at 65 off 64, which included six fours and a six. Whereas, Raj scored her 60th half-century and was not out at 66 off 81. With the help of Raj and Ghosh, India managed to give a mammoth target of 270. Devine took two wickets. 

In return, Devine opened the innings for New Zealand with a four, followed by another four from Suzie Bates in the first over. However, Deepti Sharma gave an early breakthrough and sent Bates’ back to the pavilion at 16 off 14, which included four fours. In the 8th over, Devine hit two back-to-back fours off Rajeshwari Gayakwad. However, in the same over, Taniya Bhatia took a stunning catch of Devine behind stumps at 33 off 30. She came in as a replacement for injured Richa Ghosh. 

Sharma got Satterthwait for a golden duck, and New Zealand was down to 55 for 3. After taking three important wickets, India was looking in control. However, it was the partnership of Amelia Kerr and Maddy Green that brought New Zealand back into the game. The pair added 128 runs before Pooman Yadav broke the partnership by taking Green’s wicket. She scored 52 runs off 61 balls. 

Amelia got her second ODI century in the 46th over with four. However, there was hardly any celebration as 27 runs were still needed from 24 balls. Sharma picked up her fourth wicket as she sent Hayley Jensen back to the pavilion. Jess Kerr joined her sister Amelia Kerr and finished it off with a four. New Zealand chased down 270 with three wickets in hand. Kaur, Yadav and Gayakwad took one wicket each. Amelia was named as a player of the match for her unbeaten 109 runs, one wicket and four catches. 

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