South Africa eased to a five-wicket victory in the final ODI against India to seal a 4-1 series triumph in Lucknow.
India were asked to bat, and looked good to post a big total during a half-century partnership between captain Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur. However, a collapse triggered by an injury thereafter helped South Africa back into the game as India were bundled out for 188.
India’s spinners then provided a glimmer of hope, but a calculated partnership from Anne Bosch and Mignon du Prez guided South Africa to a 4-1 series victory. It was their 10th victory in their last 11 ODIs, and the result lifted them to No.2 in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s ODI Team Rankings.
Despite being put in, India got off to a steady start, with openers Priya Punia and Smriti Mandhana putting away a couple of boundaries in the early overs. However, Punia was beaten all ends by Marianne Kapp in just the sixth over, bringing to the middle the in-form Punam Raut.
Unfortunately for India, their woes continued as Raut skied one off Nondumiso Shangase straight to the fielder at fine leg. On the very next ball, the dangerous Mandhana followed her back to the pavilion after a pull shot ended up with the fielder at mid-wicket.
At 53/3 in 12.1 overs, India were in trouble. But Kaur and Mithali combined to revive the innings. They counter-attacked, Mithali holding up one end as Kaur went berserk at the other, but just as their innings gathered momentum, disaster struck – Kaur retired hurt with what turned out to be a hip-flexor injury, and South Africa had an opening.
Mithali tried to anchor the innings thereafter, digging deep to bring up a 55th ODI half-century. She ground her way to 79 off 104 balls, but the rest of the line-up couldn’t provide adequate support. India lost six wickets for 51 runs, and were shot out for a sub-par total.
Despite that, India’s spinners gave them an opening early on. South Africa got off to a rocky start with Rajeshwari Gayakwad striking twice in successive overs, dismissing Laura Wolvaardt (0) and Lara Goodall (1). Dayalan Hemalatha outfoxed South Africa captain Sune Luus with a typical off-spinner’s delivery, and the visitors were 27/3.
Anne Bosch and Mignon du Prez came to South Africa’s rescue. The pair opted for the steady approach, stitching together a 104 run partnership to ride the storm and put South Africa in a commanding position.
Both batters completed their half-centuries en route, but couldn’t finish the job as Bosch diverted a full toss to Raj off the debutant Challuru Pratyusha. Gayakwad kept India’s hopes alive soon after, picking up the wicket of du Prez.
However, it came too little too late. Nadine de Klerk and Kapp could take their time to forge an unbroken partnership of 58, and the duo eased South Africa to a memorable victory.
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