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South Africa

Lizelle Lee’s chasing masterclass wins South Africa thriller

Ind v SA, 3rd WODI, report

It was a match that seemed set to go down to the wire, but rain played spoilsport, forcing abandonment with less than four overs to go, giving South Africa a six-run win on the DLS method.

SCORECARD

Lizelle Lee was the star for South Africa, her 131-ball 132* powering the visitors in a daunting chase of 249. When play was abandoned, South Africa were five runs ahead of the revised target of 218. Lee’s 97-run third-wicket partnership with Mignon du Preez proved the game-changer, despite a fine performance from the Indian batters first up.

After being asked to bat, India rode on Punam Raut’s excellent 77, and starts from all of Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, and Deepti Sharma, each of whom contributed 36 each. An inspired death bowling performance from South Africa’s attack kept India’s total to 249/5. 

India’s innings started off on the wrong foot, though, when Shabnil Ismail had Jemimah Rodrigues caught behind for nought, ending the first over of the match with a wicket-maiden. However, India were quickly back on track, with Raut and Smriti Mandhana putting on a fine display of authoritative batsmanship.

Raut put away Ismail for three boundaries in as early as the third over of the innings, and Mandhana kept up the pace at the other end in typical fashion. Just as the duo seemed to have steadied the ship, taking India past the 50-run mark, Tumi Sekhukhune deceived Mandhana with a slower delivery, bringing an end to a promising partnership.

India weren’t too troubled, despite that dismissal, with Raut putting on a strong partnership of 77 with captain Raj to push India’s total past 141. Raut brought up her fifty in the 25th over, making it consecutive half-centuries for India’s No.3.

At the other end, Raj became only the second women’s cricketer to cross 10,000 international runs after England legend Charlotte Edwards during the course of her 50-ball 36. However, she was dismissed tamely by Anne Bosch shortly after achieving the incredible feat, leaving India unsteady at 141/3.

When Marizanne Kapp snared Raut, who miscued one to mid-off for 77, South Africa had wrestled their way back into the match. India had to consolidate their position thereafter, with Kaur and Deepti adding a fighting 60 together. It helped close in on 250, but the impression was that India were a tad short on this wicket.

South Africa got off to a steady start in their chase, with Lee and Laura Wolvaardt, captain for the day after Sune Luus was ruled out with illness, putting on 41 within the first ten overs. Deepti Sharma got the crucial wicket of Wolvaardt to break the partnership soon after, beating her all ends up as she attempted to drive one.

The veteran Jhulan Goswami returned to the attack and snared Lara Goodall – the South Africa No.3 tried to hit it over the long-on, but mistimed it straight to Kaur at mid-on – for 16. 

Mignon du Preez joined Lee at the crease at 81/2, and the pair went to add 103 runs in 15 overs during the course of which Lee brought up her third century in ODIs. The partnership formed the bedrock of the chase and took South Africa to 178/3 before Rajeshwari Gayakwad broke the stand, dismissing du Preez for 37. Goswami then had Kapp dismissed for nought to set up a tense finale, but rain intervened to spoil proceedings. 

The fourth ODI of the five-match series has been set up nicely.

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