Bengaluru, July 6: The Indian batting came good as the hosts overcame New Zealand by eight wickets, chasing down a target of 221, to level the five-match women's One-Day International (ODI) series 2-2 here on Monday.
Skipper Mithali Raj (81 not out, 88b, 10x4), who completed 5,000 runs in ODIs, and Smriti Mandhana (66, 99b, 8x4) put on 124 runs for the second wicket as India overhauled New Zealand's total of 220 all out with 34 balls to spare.
The teams will meet again in the deciding fifth game of the series on Wednesday at the same venue with the Kiwis hoping to win their first bilateral series in three attempts in India.
Opting to bat, the Kiwis were all out in the 50th over with skipper Suzie Bates (27), Amy Satterthwaite (43, 55b, 6x4, 1x6) and Sophie Devine (89, 102b, 10x4, 3x6) doing most of the scoring.
The New Zealand total was built around a 62-run stand for the second wicket between Bates and Satterthwaite and 58 for the fourth wicket between Satterthwaite and Devine, who did a fine job by holding the lower order together as she put on useful runs in the company of tail-enders.
For India, seamer Niranjana Nagarajan (3/35) and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (3/25) were the pick of bowlers with the latter taking two wickets in one over to peg back the Black Caps.
India replied strongly as openers Thirush Kamini (31) and Mandhana (66, 99b, 8x4) put on 49 runs to provide a solid foundation.
Mandhana and Raj put on a century partnership that took the game away from the Kiwis. When looking set for a bigger score, Mandhana was caught off a full toss straight from seamer Anna Peterson and was caught by Katie Perkins at midwicket.
After Mandhana's exit, all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur (32 not out, 25b, 4x4, 2x6) and Raj continued to blast the Kiwi bowling which wilted under pressure as the pair took the team over the finish line.
Brief scores: New Zealand 220 all out in 49.5 overs (Suzie Bates 27, Amy Satterthwaite 43, Sophie Devine 89; Niranjana Nagarajan 3/35, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 3/25, Harmanpreet Kaur 2/23) lost to India 221/2 in 44.2 overs (Smriti Mandhana 66, Mithali Raj 81 not out, Harmanpreet Kaur 32 not out).