6 Feb 2019

White Ferns fight back with ball

7:46 pm on 6 February 2019

An impressive fightback with the ball has led the New Zealand women's cricket side to a 23-run victory in the first match of their T20 series against India.

The White Ferns celebrate a wicket in the first T20 against India.

The White Ferns celebrate a wicket in the first T20 against India. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Set 160 to win in Wellington on Wednesday, the visitors were cruising as they went past 100 in just the 12th over for the loss of only one wicket.

However a stunning boundary catch from Hannah Rowe, which broke a 98-run second-wicket stand between Smriti Mandana and Jemimah Rodrigues, proved the catalyst for the White Ferns to turn the match on its head.

From that point the wickets began to tumble, India eventually all out for 136 as the final nine wickets fell for only 34 runs.

Sent in after the tourists won the toss and elected to bowl first, New Zealand's innings was anchored by a typical powerful half-century to Sophie Devine.

Despite losing opening partner Suzie Bates in just the second over, Devine remained positive with her strokeplay and the White Ferns really gathered momentum as she was joined in the middle by captain Amy Sattherthwaite in the seventh over.

The experienced pair put on 69 runs in 51 balls before Devine eventually fell for 62 off only 48 balls, an innings which included six fours and two sixes.

Sattherthwaite followed in the next over for 33 off 27, but a late flurry from wicketkeeper Katie Martin and the returning Frances Mackay ensured the home side posted a decent total.

Martin hit two sixes in the final over to finish not out on 27 from just 14, while Mackay feed the strike well and was unbeaten on 10 from nine.

India lost Priya Punia to the spin of Sattherthwaite from the fourth ball of the chase, but Mandana and Rodrigues quickly swung the pendulum back in their side's favour.

With Mandana leading the charge, the pair put on 98 in just 64 balls, leaving India well and truly in charge with just 58 runs required from 54 with nine wickets in hand.

Hannah Rowe takes a brilliant catch for New Zealand against India.

Hannah Rowe takes a brilliant catch for New Zealand against India. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

But when Rowe took her miraculous catch in the deep off the bowling of leg-spinner Amelia Kerr to remove Mandana for a brilliant 58 off only 34 balls, the dramatic shift in fortunes quickly began.

Four balls later Rodrigues was removed for 39 by seamer Lea Tahuhu, with the seven remaining wickets falling in only seven overs as the White Ferns wrapped up victory.

Other than Mandana and Rodrigues, captain Harmanpreet Kaur (17) was the only India batswoman to go past five.

Tahuhu picked up player of the match honours after finishing with figures of 3-20 from her four overs, while spin duo Kerr (2-28 off four) and Leigh Kasperek (2-25 off three) were the other key contributors with the ball for New Zealand.

Game two in the three-match series is in Auckland on Friday.