The ICC World T20 Championships kick-started with great aplomb with a swash-buckling hundred from Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur in their opening match against World Number Two New Zealand. The Women in Blue went on to win their opening encounter against the White Ferns by 34 runs in Providence Stadium, Guyana.
India won the toss and promptly elected to bat on a pitch which would keep low and turn slow as the game progressed. Mandhana walked in with her new opening partner Bhatia. India lost three wickets in quick succession and was dangling at 40 for three.
Kaur triggered the charge for Team India along with the 18-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues, setting up a record 134-run-partnership for any wicket. India pushed along to an excellent score of 194 by the end of 20 overs. Kaur scored a brilliant century off just 51 balls, comprising of seven boundaries and eight towering sixes. Rodrigues fulfilled her role to perfection with a crisp 59 of 45 deliveries.
New Zealand knew they had a formidable task chasing a record winning 195 to secure a victory. They started on an optimistic note, with Suzie Bates and Peterson posting a 52 run stand by the end of the power play. Bates innovated against the spinners by hopping away towards the offside to pull and sweep the deliveries to the square-leg boundary.
India, though, was picking wickets from the other end, with debutant Hemalatha striking early to get Peterson out caught behind. In a short time, Devine fell to Yadav, and the White Ferns skipper holed out to square-leg. The final blow came from Arundhati Reddy when she captured the wicket of Suzie Bates, slicing a delivery to the point fielder to bow out for 67 runs.
Martin made a quick-fire 39 before she skied one to the Indian captain off Yadav‘s leg spin as India wrapped up the New Zealand innings for 160. Harmanpreet Kaur was undoubtedly the Man of the Match. India meets rival Pakistan in their subsequent encounter on November 11, 2018.
Twitter reactions after Harmanpreet Kaur’s innings: