Smitri Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur blasted rapid centuries in an 184-run partnership which led India to an emphatic 155-run win over the previously unbeaten West Indies on Saturday at the Women’s Cricket World Cup at Hamilton, New Zealand.
India produced a mammoth total of 317-8 in its 50 overs and its bowlers complemented that performance, bowling out the West Indies for 162 in just over 40 overs. The win moved India to the top of the points table and was vital ahead of challenging matches against England and Australia.
In a declaration of intent from the start, young opener Yastika Bhatia struck three boundaries from the first over on a placid pitch at Seddon Park. India raced to 41-0 after five overs but that was only a taste of the batting to come when Mandhana and Kaur combined in a match-winning stand for the fourth wicket.
Mandhana reached her fifth one-day international century from 108 balls with nine fours and two sixes. She had moved on to 123 from 119 balls at a strike rate of 103 when she was finally out in 43rd over when India was 262-4.
“The positivity which Yastika started with gave me a lot of confidence,” Mandhana said. “We lost three quick wickets so I had to hold back at first.
“The discussion in the team meeting was to score, keep the momentum high and Yastika did that brilliantly and gave us a 20-30 run cushion after we lost three wickets to settle in.”
Kaur posted her fourth century from 100 balls in an outstanding display of assertive batting, hitting 10 fours and two sixes and using every inch of a large ground which was difficult to defend.
She was finally out in the 49th over when India was 313-7.
The West Indies, who have been the giant killers of the tournament, started boldly and even greater pace than India. Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews, their match-winners in the last two games, sped to 50 from five overs and 81 at the 10 over maark.
The West Indies’ 100 came up in the 12th over when Dottin was 69 and Matthews 32.
But Dottin fell at that score and a small collapse followed that derailed the West Indies’ run chase. Meghna Singh removed Kycia Knight (6) and Stafanie Taylor (1) and Sheh Rana dismissed Matthews for 43 as the West Indies slumped to 114-4.
Another flurry of wickets followed at the West Indies were 145-7 in the 27th over. Accurate and off-pace bowling seemed most effective on an easy-paced pitch and India produced the flight and changes in pace necessary to make scoring difficult.
The tournament is an eight-team round-robin with the top four teams contesting the semifinals. India leads the points table on run rate while the West Indies now drops back to fifth place.
New Zealand meets six-time champion Australia in an important match on Sunday.