Harmanpreet Kaur reaches her century. Image: ICC/Getty

WHITE FERNs fall short as India post big total

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The WHITE FERNS ICC World T20 campaign got off to a disappointing start, beaten by India by 34 runs in Providence, Guyana.

In the opening match of the sixth edition of the event, New Zealand were unable to capitalise on a strong start with the ball, as India reached a formidable 194 for five their highest score in the tournament.

They were then restricted to 160 for nine, which put a dampener on the world's No 1-ranked T20 batswomen, Suzie Bates, becoming the highest run maker in ICC World T20 tournaments, scoring 67 off just 50 balls today.

India's record-setting score was based almost entirely around a terrific 134-run stand for the fourth wicket between captain Harmanpreet Kaur and 18-year-old Jemima Rodrigues.

The WHITE FERNS started with a bang, Lea Tahuhu and Leigh Kasperek reduced India to 40 for three inside the opening six-over power play.

Fast bowler Tahuhu produced an excellent opening two overs, removing openers Taniya Bhatia and Shriti Mandhana, the latter to a spectacular overhead catch on the deep square leg boundary by a leaping Hayley Jensen.

There was a lesson for New Zealand early, however.

The tournament rules allow for one unsuccessful DRS referral. Replays showed Tahuhu and Kasparek would have each had another wicket had New Zealand made lbw referrals early.

Crucially, Rodrigues, on two, was clearly out to Tahuhu but New Zealand opted not to seek a second opinion.

That said, Rodrigues demonstrated why she is rated among the brightest batting prospects in the game, making 59 off 45 balls.

The experienced Kaur, after a slow start, lashed some erratic bowling in reaching 103 off only 51 balls. It is India's first century in T20 internationals.

She had just five off her first 13 deliveries, then plundered eight sixes as New Zealand failed to stick to their lines and lengths.

Tahuhu and Kasperek were the pick of the New Zealand attack, sharing three for 46 off seven overs.

Bates kept New Zealand in the hunt, despite having limited batting support. But when she sliced a full toss to point, it left New Zealand 98 for five with just 6.2 overs left.

The only other contribution of note came from wicketkeeper Katey Martin who produced a spirited 39 off 25 balls.

New Zealand, ranked second in the T20 game, have matches left against Australia, Pakistan and Ireland but with only the top two in each of the two groups of five progressing to the last four, it means they almost certainly will need to beat the Australians on Wednesday to keep their hopes alive.

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