Kimberly (South Africa): Opener Smriti Mandhana’s superb fifty and the pace duo of Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey combining for seven wickets, guided the Indian women’s team to a 88-run win over South Africa in the first of the three-match ODI rubber here on Monday.
The win meant India picked up two points towards the ICC Women’s Championship in their first game. Electing to bat after winning the toss, India rode on Smriti’s 98-ball 84, laced with eight boundaries and a six, and skipper Mithali Raj’s 70-ball patient 45, to post 213/7.
Smriti first raised a 55-run opening stand with her opening partner Poonam Raut (19) to set the tone before joining forces with Mithali for a 99-run second wicket stand. The rest of the Indian batting including all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur (16) and stumper Sushma Verma (15) got the starts but failed to capitalise, while Veda Krishnamurthy (2) and Deepti Sharma (6) were run out cheaply.
In response, the South Africans failed to get going against the disciplined Indian new ball pair of Jhulan (4/24) and Shikha (3/23). Opener Laura Wolvaardt (21) and skipper Dane van Niekerk (41) raised the hopes of the home side with a brief 19-run stand before Laura departed.
van Niekerk continued to fight a lone battle before the lower order batswomen — Marizanne Kapp (23) and Suné Luus (21 not out) — added some spice but leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (2/22) applied the brakes yet again as the hosts folded for 125 in 43.2 overs.
Brief Scores: Indian women 213/7 (Smriti Mandhana 84, Mithali Raj 45; Marizanne Kapp 2/26) beat South African women 125 (Dane van Niekerk 41, Marizanne Kapp 23; Jhulan 4/24, Shikha Pandey 3/23) by 88 runs.