Bengaluru: A captain's knock by Mithali Raj enabled the Indian women's cricket team to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over New Zealand in the fourth ODI, thereby levelling the five-match series at 2-2.
Skipper Mithali's stylish unbeaten knock of 81 was the cornerstone of India successful chase of 221 in only 44.2 overs. There were two significant milestones also reached during the match. Mithali became the first Indian and second in women's ODI history to complete 5000 runs after England's Charlotte Edwards.
The chase of 221 was also the highest by the eves on Indian soil and second highest overall.
Mithali got able support from young left-handed opener Smriti Mandhana (66, 99 balls) as they added 124 runs for the second wicket. This was after Mandhana and Thirushkamini (31) gave a steady start with a 49-run opening stand.
Mithali's 88-ball innings had 10 sweetly timed boundaries but the most exciting part of Indian innings was Harmanpreet Kaur's 25-ball cameo that yielded 32 runs with help of four boundaries and two huge sixes. A straight six off spinner Leigh Kasperek ended the match.
Earlier, the New Zealanders reached a decent target of 220 in 49.5 overs, largely due to contribution from Sophie Devine (89) that had 10 fours and three sixes.
India's most successful bowler was left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayekwad with figures of 3 for 25 in 10 overs, while pacer Niranjana Nagarajan polished off the tail with 3 for 35 in 5.5 overs.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 220 in 49.5 overs (Sophie Devine 89, Rajeshwari Gayekwad 3/25, Niranjana Nagarajan 3/35).
India 221/2 in 44.2 overs (Mithali Raj 81 no, Smriti Mandhana 66, Harmanpreet Kaur 32 no). India won by 8 wkts. Series. India 2 New Zealand 2.
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