Hamilton: Opener Smriti Mandhana's fabulous innings of 86 runs went in vain as Indian women's team lost their final T20 international against New Zealand by two runs in a thrilling contest that continued till the last bowl here at Seddon Park stadium on Sunday.
With this victory, New Zealand clinched the three-match series 3-0.
Chasing a target of 162 runs, India lost opener Priya Punia (1) very early. Mandhana, however, held one end up and kept the scoreboard ticking at the required run rate.
Jemimah Rodrigues was complementing Mandhana well at the crease but the partnership did not last long as Jemimah got out after scoring 21 runs.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who walked to the pitch after the dismissal of Rodrigues, lost her wicket cheaply as she returned to the pavilion with just two runs. At 102, India had lost three wickets but Mandhana's presence was enough to give the Indian fans hope.
The match, however, took a turn when Mandhana was dismissed by Sophie Devine. The onus of taking India home was on Mithali Raj and Deepti Sharma. The duo took the match till the last over.
The final over was nerve-wracking. India needed four runs off the final delivery with Mithali on strike. The right-hand batter, however, missed the shot and India lost by two runs.
For New Zealand, Sophie Devine picked up two wickets while Amelia Kerr and Leigh Kasperek chipped in with one wicket each.
Earlier batting first, New Zealand opener Sophie Devine scored 72 runs taking her side to a total of 161 runs.
For India, Deepti Sharma scalped two wickets while Mansi Joshi, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy and Pooja Yadav picked one wicket each.
Devine was adjudged Player of the Match.