The Indian women's cricket team has started its tour of New Zealand as part of the ICC Women's Championship in the most emphatic fashion by winning the first ODI of the three-match series by nine wickets in Napier on Thursday. After dismissing the hosts for a paltry 192, Smriti Mandhana's 105 and an equally impressive unbeaten 81 by Jemimah Rodrigues helped Team India win the match with 102 balls to spare.
India captain Mithali Raj had won the toss and elected to field, a decision that was backed by some quality bowling by the visitors. The Kiwis were bowled out in 48.4 overs with left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht and leg-spinner Poonam Yadav taking three wickets apiece. Off-spinner Deepti Sharma took two wickets and medium-pacer Shikha Pandey finished with one wicket.
When India batted, Smriti and Jemima added 190 for the first wicket but with just three runs needed for the win, Smriti fell to leg-spinner Amelia Kerr. This was Smriti's fourth ODI century and first against New Zealand. All four of Smriti's ODI tons have come outside the sub-continent. As for the 18-year-old Jemima, this was a maiden ODI fifty.
This is the fifth consecutive time since July 2015 that the Indian women have beaten their Kiwi counterparts in ODIs. The second ODI of the current series will be played on January 29 at Mount Maunganui.