BASSETERRE, St Kitts, CMC – Middle order batsman Mithali Raj’s cameo 44 was not enough to prevent India from a 10-run loss to New Zealand in their Group B clash in the Women’s World Twenty20 Championship at Warner Park yesterday.
The 27-year-old right-hander carved out a 36-ball innings with six scintillating fours as India threatened to overhaul New Zealand’s 139 for eight off 20 overs.
In the end, they were forced to settle on 129 for eight after Raj was dismissed at 91 for six in the 16th over.
India started poorly when they lost Poonam Raut without scoring in the third over with the score on 15 but fellow opener Sulakshana Naik and Raj repaired the innings with a 22-run stand.
Naik hit 28 from 24 balls with three fours and a six before becoming the second of left-arm seamer Sian Ruck’s two wickets at 37 for two in the seventh over.
India then lost wickets steadily and despite Raj’s knock, slumped to 102 for eight in the 18th over. Reema Malhotra staged a last ditch effort, blasting a four and a six in an unbeaten 28 from 16 balls but it was a little late to save India.
Earlier, Suzie Bates top scored with 32 from 30 balls to lead the Kiwis’ batting effort but off-spinner Diana David wrecked the middle order with a spell of four for 27.
Down the order, Nicola Browne weighed in with 24 from 17 balls while Rachel Priest chipped in with 20 from 12 balls.