Auckland: A shoddy batting performance by the middle-order saw Indian women lose a nail-biting second T20 International against New Zealand by four wickets and concede the three-match series here on Friday.
The Indian women had earlier lost the first Twenty20 International by 23 runs in Wellington.
Needing a win to keep the series alive, Indian women posted a modest 135/6 despite being 72 for 2 after the first 10 overs.
New Zealand made a heavy weather of the chase before scampering home off the last ball of the match, losing six wickets.
"I think we should give credit to our bowlers, it wasn't a good total but still they fought for us. We were 20 runs short, They played better cricket than us. We just need to learn from our mistakes and play better," India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said after the match.
Jemimah Rodrigues slammed a 53-ball 72 that included six boundaries and one six but India scored only 63 runs in the back 10 to end up 20 runs short, which became their undoing.
The White Ferns lost two quick wickets — opener Sophie Devine (19) and Caitlin Gurrey (4) — by the seventh over with the scoreboard reading 40.
But then Suzie Bates (62) and Amy Satterthwaite (23) joined hands and the duo stitched 61 runs for the third wicket to get New Zealand women back into the track.
Left-arm orthodox bowler Radha Yadav (2/23) and medium-pacer Arundhati Reddy (2/22) bowled well for Indian women in the middle overs to take the match down to the wire.
Reddy, in fact, brought India back into the match with twin blows in the 18th over — first dismissing a set Bates and then accounting for Anna Peterson for a first-ball duck.
New Zealand needed nine runs off the last over and Katey Martin smacked Mansi Joshi for a boundary off the first ball to bring down the equation to five off five.
Joshi, however, got her revenge by bowling Martin the next ball.
But it was not to be India's day as some sloppy fielding and sensible batting by Hannah Rowe and Leigh Kasperek took New Zealand home.
"We probably should have done that lot easier than what we did. But I am happy. Feels like it's been a while since we won a series," New Zealand captain Amy Satherwaite said.
Earlier, Jemimah, with in-form opener Smriti Mandhana (36 off 27), added 63 runs for the second wicket to lay the base for the total after the visitors lost opener Priya Punia (4) early.
Invited to bat, India women struggled to put up partnerships and the one between Mandhana and Rodrigues saved the visitors' from humiliation.
When Mandhana and Rodrigues played fearlessly to put together 71 runs in 9.1 overs before the visitors lost Mandhana.
Mandhana's dismissal brought in Harmanpreet but the skipper didn't last long and perished after scoring only five runs.
Rodrigues, though, carried on and registered fifth T20 fifty of her career but didn't get enough support from the other end to take
Rodrigues got out in the penultimate over while trying to go for big shots, stumped by Katey Martin off leg-spinner Amelia Kerr.
Besides Rodrigues and Mandhana, it was a struggle for others as no other batter could manage double-digit scores.
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