New Zealand 260 for 9 (Satterthwaite 75, A Kerr 50, Vastrakar 4-34) beat India 198 (Kaur 71, Tahuhu 3-17, A Kerr 3-56) by 62 runs
Just like in the previous game at the venue, between Australia and England that yielded 608 runs, Thursday’s fresh surface encouraged stroke-making. Satterthwaite led the charge with the bat, adding two vital fifty stands – with Amelia and Maddy Green – and a 49-run fifth-wicket partnership with Katey Martin.
India’s decision to bowl – seemingly mindful of dew, which didn’t eventually play much part in the proceedings – didn’t pay off. New Zealand posted 51 for 1 in the powerplay, with just the loss of Suzie Bates. The former captain, who made 78 in the previous game, enjoyed the rub of the green early as a thick edge off Meghana Singh flew over the slips.
Three balls later, though, a drop-and-run call from Devine had non-striker Bates run out for the second time in three innings, thanks to a superb direct hit at the wicketkeeper’s end by Vastrakar from cover.
Captain Sophie Devine then launched a minimal-risk offensive, punishing the slightest width on offer and erroneous lengths without breaking a sweat. She clubbed two back-to-back fours in Meghna’s second over. Two more, off consecutive deliveries, came in the next over, this time off Jhulan Goswami.
First-change, left-arm spinner Gayakwad then came agonisingly close to providing further inroads when she drew Kerr into the sweep when she was on 7, but Yastika Bhatia, who replaced Shafali Verma in the XI, shelled what was a tough chance at deep square leg.
New Zealand had just lost the set Sophie Devine, in the 11th over, when Satterthwaite walked in. A run-a-ball 67-run third-wicket stand between her and Amelia then helped the hosts dictate terms. Amelia then brought up her maiden World Cup fifty, and her fifth on the bounce against India.
Kerr, however, was trapped lbw soon after by Gayakwad. The onus then fell on Satterthwaite to take the hosts to a formidable total. And she delivered, with a fluent 75, at a ground she averages at over 104. Her nine fours, 31 singles, and four twos helped keep the run rate above four through the major part of her stay in the middle as India struggled to tighten the scoring areas against the left-hander.
Martin’s innovations helped keep New Zealand’s scoring rate up in the initial part of the final 10 overs. With Satterthwaite she added 49 for the fifth wicket as the home team set themselves up for a 250-plus score.
Vastrakar oscillated between extraordinary and sloppy in the field, conceding a four through her legs and then dropping Martin on 27 after handing India an early advantage with Bates’ run out. She rounded out her outing with a flurry of wicket-taking yorkers, and Goswami India’s with a five-run over where she bowled Martin to become the joint-highest wicket-taker in women’s ODI World Cups.
India never quite looked the part to mount New Zealand a challenge in the chase. Dot-ball pressure induced opener Smriti Mandhana’s early dismissal to Jess Kerr, and the fall of No. 3 Deepti Sharma then saw them post their lowest ODI powerplay total since the start of 2017 (rain-interrupted matches excluded): 26 for 2. Bhatia’s promotion to the opening spot on World Cup debut, too, didn’t bring the desired results as she could manage only a 59-ball 28.
Inside 20 overs, India’s top three – all left-handers – were back in the hut; Tahuhu, sensational with her mix of cutters, short balls and stock deliveries under lights, took out two of them: Deepti and Bhatia. Under a pile of pressure, India required 211 runs from 30 overs. Mithali Raj, dropped on 6 by Mackay off Tahuhu, and Harmanpreet Kaur reduced the deficit with a fourth-wicket 47 stand.
India had only just begun staging a fightback when Amelia Kerr dented them further with a double-wicket third over. Raj was stumped off an orthodox legbreak and Ghosh lost the top of her offstump with a ripping wrong-un.
On a hat-trick, Kerr brought five close-in fielders in but a loose delivery to the under-siege Sneh Rana meant the eventful over ended with an anticlimactic four. Not long after, off the final ball of her outing, did Tahuhu take out Rana, rounding out her exemplary returns with 10-2-17-3.
Kaur’s late burst had an element of futility about it from the get-go given the required run rate had ballooned to over 10 by the 37th over. She strung a seventh-wicket 35 stand with Goswami but the prospect of a come-from-behind win for India was quashed when Amelia had Kaur caught at long-off.
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha