Goswami powers Indian eves to victory

Bengaluru, June 28 (IANS) Indian eves recovered brilliantly to snatch a well-deserved 17-run win over visiting New Zealand in the first of their five-match One-Day International (ODI) series here on Sunday and picked up two crucial points in their bid to qualify for the 2017 Women’s World Cup.

The Indians found their heroine in the six-footer Jhulan Goswami whose 67-ball 57 (6×4, 1×6) lifted the hosts to 142 all out after being 87 for eight at one stage. In reply, the Kiwis faltered under pressure and were dismissed for 125.

Opting to bat first after winning the toss, the Indians struggled against some accurate bowling and lost wickets at regular intervals before former captain Goswami blasted a timely half-century that virtually took the game away from the Kiwis for whom pacer Lea Tahuhu, off-spinner Leigh Kasperek and left-arm spinner Morna Nielsen took three wickets apiece.

The Kiwi innings never really took off and the early wickets took the momentum off their chase. Despite some resolute batting by opener and skipper Suzie Bates (28), Sophie Devine (24) and Kasperek (21), the visitors could not stop the marauding Indian bowlers who were well supported through smart catching and agile fielding.

For the hosts, off-spinner Sneh Rana came away with three wickets, while left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht, who opened the bowling, and seamer Harmanpreet Kaur took two apiece to complete a fine win.

The teams meet again at the same venue Wednesday. The first three matches of the series count towards qualification to the 2017 World Cup.

Brief scores:

India 142 all out in 44.3 overs (Jhulan Goswami 57, Lea Thuhu 3 for 25; Morna Nielsen 3 for 24) beat New Zealand 125 all out in 45.3 overs (Suzie Bates 28, Sophie Devine 24; Sneh Rana 3 for 26, Ekta Bisht 2 for 18, Harmanpreet Kaur 2 for 16) by 17 runs. Points: India 2, New Zealand 0.

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