Hurley Gala and Soumya Tiwari starred as India’s Under-19 women’s team took a 1-0 lead in the five-match T20 series against New Zealand’s development squad on Sunday, at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s ground in Bandra Kurla Complex.

Chasing just 86 runs, the hosts finished with 89/3 in 11.3 overs to complete a commanding seven-wicket victory.

The series is important preparation for teams with the inaugural edition of the ICC Women’s U19 T20 World Cup coming up in South Africa from January.

New Zealand captain Ocean Bartlett won the toss and opted to bat first on a sunny afternoon in Mumbai. But the visitors’ decision didn’t quite work out as Gala produced a top spell with the new ball.

The right-arm medium pacer (an allrounder) struck with her first delivery by trapping Olivia Gain in front. She then dismissed Anna Browning to make it two wickets in her first over. Gala went on to bowl her full quota of four overs in one go and added the wicket of Flora Devonshire to her tally, returning with excellent figures of 3/18.

While Gala hit good lengths consistently and got carry, it was a typical Mumbai pitch, with something in it for all bowlers, and the spinners got in on the act too.

Left-arm spinner Sonam Yadav bagged two wickets, while leg-spinner Parshavi Chopra, off-spinner Sonia Mendhiya and left-arm spinner Mannat Kashyap took a wicket each as New Zealand were restricted to 85/9 in their 20 overs. All four spinners tossed the ball up nicely and consistently, testing the New Zealand batters’ footwork.

In reply, India were off to a blazing start in the chase thanks to Tiwary. The right-hander hit two fours in the first over of the innings, before smashing four fours in the second. She went on to complete a 31-ball half-century and remained unbeaten on 52 off 33 with 10 fours.

Tiwari showed high class off-side play and hit some glorious cover-drives for four.

Even as skipper Shweta Sehrawat (0 off 4), G Trisha (8 off 9) and Shika (11 off 19) walked back to the pavilion, Tiwari kept the scoreboard ticking and never allowed New Zealand a real look in.

India, who are coached by former international cricketer Nooshin Al Khadeer, were impressive in the field as well. Wicketkeeper Hrishita Basu was solid throughout and effected a fine stumping, Chopra took a stunning return catch, while the ground fielding saved plenty of runs too.

The hosts would have gained immense confidence from the result and will aim to take a step closer to the series win when the two teams face at the same venue in the second T20 on Tuesday.

India U19 women’s squad for T20s vs New Zealand: Shweta Sehrawat (c), Shikha Shalot, Trisha G, Soumya Tiwari (vc), Sonia Mehdiya, Hurley Gala, Hrishita Basu (WK), Nandini Kashyap (wk), Sonam Yadav, Mannat Kashyap, Archana Devi, Parshavi Chopra, Titas Sadhu, Falak Naz, Shabnam MD.

Schedule for the series

Date Time Venue
27-Nov-22  India won MCA BKC, Mumbai 
29-Nov-22  1:00 PM  MCA BKC, Mumbai 
01-Dec-22  1:00 PM  MCA BKC, Mumbai 
04-Dec-22  1:00 PM  MCA BKC, Mumbai 
06-Dec-22  1:00 PM  MCA BKC, Mumbai

Read the full scorecard of the first T20 here.