White Ferns have defeated India by 23 runs in the first women's Twenty20 International on Wednesday.

Chasing a target of 160 runs, the Indians were dismissed for 136 in 19.1 overs.

India women’s cricket team went from a convincing position in the first T20I against New Zealand at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington to throwing it all away with the middle order collapsing miserably. Asked to chase 160 runs by New Zealand, India collapsed from 102/1 to 117/6 in five overs and eventually 136 runs to throw away momentum created by Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues at the top. The 23-run win gave New Zealand a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. India women had earlier won the ODIs 2-1 which were part of the ICC Women’s Championship.

In India women’s first T20I on New Zealand soil and as part of the double header in Wellington – with the men facing off at 12.30 PM IST – Mandhana and Rodrigues’ 98 run stand from 64 balls for the second wicket was undone with the middle order failing to strike miserably. In the absence of veteran Mithali Raj, none of the Indian women remained steady under rising run rate and pressure. This loss is expected to reignite discussion over not starting with her. In team news, Priya Punia made her debut and received the cap from Mithali with Harmanpreet Kaur continuing to lead the side.

After the blip in the third ODI where both Mandhana and Rodrigues failed to fire, they returned to big hitting and high scoring in Wellington. Mandhana who has been in scintillating form in ODIs which has seen her hit two centuries and eight half tons in last 15 matches – which propelled her to top-rank among the batswomen – carried that into the shortest format also. Mandhana struck her first T20I fifty since 2014 and seventh overall in Wellington. Her 24-ball fifty is also the fastest for an Indian batswoman in T20Is bettering her own record by a delivery.

She was given strong support at the other end by youngster Rodrigues who scored 39 runs from 33 balls with six boundaries to her name. Lea Tahuhu accounted for her wicket with a delivery outside off which Jemimah tried to slash but got the faintest of edges behind to Katey Martin. Dayalan Hemlatha (3) and Anuja Patil (0) too became her victims with India suddenly going from 102/1 to 111/5.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur persisted for a while including hitting a six to give the visiting team hope for a late revival but those hopes were dashed when Amelie Kerr’s well flighted delivery deceived Kaur with Martin completing the stumping. Taniya Bhatia, Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma exited in single digits as India women fell apart for 136 runs in the final over.

Having won the toss, India put the White Ferns into bat. Experienced Suzie Bates failed to fire with New Zealand women also starting poorly. The fastest T20I fifty among the women belongs to Sophie Devine and she played a crucial role in New Zealand’s surge. As Bates faltered, her opening partner Devine struck 62 runs from 48 balls with six boundaries and two sixes.

She had good support from skipper Amy Satterthwaite with 33 runs from 27 balls as they stitched a 69 run partnership. At the bottom end, wicketkeeper batswoman Martin played a firing cameo with 27 runs from 14 balls.

BRIEF SCORES: New Zealand women: 159/4 (Sophie Devine 62; Deepti Sharma 1/19) beat India women: 136 all out (Smriti Mandhana 58, Jemimah Rodrigues 39; Lea Tahuhu 3/20) by 23 runs to win the first T20I.

The hosts have taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.