Bengaluru: A brilliant half-century by Thirush Kamini lifted India to a nine-wicket win over New Zealand and enabled them to take the five-match women's One-Day International (ODI) series 3-2 at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Wednesday.
After bundling out New Zealand for 118 in 41 overs, India, spearheaded by Kamini (62 not out, 78b, 13x4) and Deepti Sharma (44 not out, 78b, 8x4), who put on 103 runs for the second wicket, made 121/1 in 27.2 overs to round off a commanding performance.
Barring skipper Suzie Bates (42, 85b, 2x4) and Anna Peterson (22), none of the Black Caps batters stayed long enough at the crease to ensure a challenging total. Bates' dismissal, caught at cover by counterpart Mithali Raj off left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht in the 34th over, effectively curtailed the visitors' innings.
Earlier, Bates and Sophie Devine (18) somewhat retrieved the situation after early loss of wickets by adding 49 runs for the third wicket while Peterson hung around to take the Kiwis past the 100-run mark as they slid from 61/2 to 118 all out.
For India, pacers Jhulan Goswami and Deepti Sharma, and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad took two wickets apiece.
India responded strongly and though opener Smriti Mandhana (13) fell early after playing a little cameo, Kamini and Sharma, both batting with freedom, carried India to a deserving victory.
Kamini survived a couple of close calls early in her innings, and Sharma batted quite beautifully as they went for their shots at every opportunity to punish a rather wayward Kiwi bowling. Fittingly, Kamini struck the winning runs, a lofted shot that Devine failed to catch and the ball raced to the boundary to trigger celebrations.
On winning back to back matches chasing, Raj said: "Obviously, we are happy to have won the series. Our girls are comfortable chasing. In the earlier matches, our middle-order collapsed repeatedly, but now, our batters seem to be in good form."
Bates said: "Yes, I am disappointed as we wanted to finish the series with a win. But you can't take anything away from the Indians who bowled and batted well in the last two games."
Brief scores: New Zealand 118 all out in 41 overs (Suzie Bates 42, Anna Peterson 22; Jhulan Goswami 2/17, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2/15, Deepti Sharma 2/22) lost to India 121/1 in 27.2 overs (Thirush Kamini 62 not out, Deepti Sharma 44 not out).