Opener Smriti Mandhana's fabulous innings of 86 runs went in vain as Indian women's team lost their final T20 international against New Zealand by two runs in a thrilling contest that continued till the last bowl here at Seddon Park stadium on Sunday.
With this victory, New Zealand clean swept India and clinch the three-match series 3-0.
Chasing a target of 162 runs, India lost one of their openers Priya Punia (1) at the initial stage of the match. Mandhana, however, held the crease from the other side and kept the score board ticking at the required run rate.
Jemimah Rodrigues was complementing Mandhana well on the crease but the partnership did not last long as the middle-order batter got out after scoring 21 runs.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who walked to the pitch after the dismissal of Rodrigues, lost her wicket cheaply as she returned to the pavilion at the score of 2. At 102, India had lost three wickets but Mandhana's presence was enough not to put the Indian fans in panic.
The match, however, took a turn when Mandhana was dismissed by Sophie Devine. The onus of taking India home was on Mithali Raj and Deepti Sharma. The duo took the match till the last over.
The final over was nerve-wrecking. India needed 4 runs off the final delivery with Mithali on strike. The right-hand batter, however, missed the shot and India lost by a narrow margin of 2 runs.
For New Zealand, Sophie Devine picked two wickets while Amelia Karr and Leigh Kasperek contributed with one wicket each.
Earlier batting first, New Zealand opener Sophie Devine played a 72-run knock taking her side to a total of 161 runs.
For India, Deepti Sharma scalped two wickets while Mansi Joshi, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, and Pooja Yadav picked one wicket each.
Sophie Devine was adjudged Player of the Match for her comprehensive performance in the game.
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