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Cricket news - Mandhana, Jhulan seal the series in New Zealand

Jhulan and the bowlers set up India's comfortable win

Following close on the heels of the series victory of the men's team, India's women followed suit with a series win in New Zealand, spurred on by their eight-wicket victory in the second One-Day International in Mount Maunganui.

Smriti Mandhana was at the center of it yet again, asserting she's no flat-track pinch-hitter with a delightful 90 off 83 balls on a slow Bay Oval pitch that was being used for the third time in four days. Mandhana scored 13 fours and a six, and helped carve a 151-run stand for the second wicket with captain Mithali Raj to track down a modest target of 162 with 14.4 overs to spare.

The series-clinching victory in all honesty was set up by the bowlers, none more than Jhulan Goswami. The 36-year-old picked 3 for 23 to augment a well-functioning spin troika in Ekta Bisht, Deepti Sharma and Poonam Yadav, each of whom picked two wickets apiece. The cherry on the cake was Shikha Pandey's early wicket of Sophie Devine that closely followed Suzie Bates's caught-behind by Goswami in the first over of the match.

Mithali introduced Bisht in the 10th over on a dry track, and with good returns. The left-arm spinner struck in her third over to account for out-of-form Lauren Down. The spinners then worked in tandem from both the ends, reducing New Zealand to 38 for 4 and then 62 for 5. Captain Amy Satterthwaite played a lone hand of 71 off 87 balls, and helped cast the only substantial partnership of 58 runs for the sixth wicket along with Leigh Kasperek.

Satterthwaite fell to Yadav in the 34th over, post which New Zealand could bat only 11.2 overs for 41 runs. Goswami returned to bowl Kasperek and Tahuhu, her effort sandwiching two wickets by Sharma. Bowled out for 161 in 44.2 overs, there wasn't much New Zealand could do.

India's chase wasn't as smooth as the first ODI. They lost Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma to Anna Peterson and Lea Tahuhu respectively, with the score reading a perilous 15 for 2 inside five overs. India haven't been averse to collapses in the past but Mithali's innings, which though painfully slow was a necessary evil, ensured that no more wickets were lost.

New Zealand switched to spin early, trying to go by India's blueprint, but Leigh Kasperek and Amelia Kerr had better players of spin to bowl to, and looked short of effective on a helpful track. Mandhana scored freely at one end, while Mithali could afford camping at the other given the target in hand. And the fact that Mithali finished the match with a six over long-on affords her critics a sweet aftertaste.

Brief Scores: New Zealand Women 161 in 44.2 overs (Satterthwaite 71; Goswami 2-23) lost to India 166/2 in 35.2 overs (Mandhana 90*, Raj 63*) by 8 wickets

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