Mithali and Punam steer India to an unassailable lead of 2-0 against South Africa

India continued its dominance over South Africa when the hosts beat the visitors by five wickets on Friday at Reliance Stadium, Vadodara. Winning the toss and electing to field first, India restricted South Africa to 247-6 in 50 overs. Opening bat Laura Wolvaardt top scored with a patient 69 (98) and received good support from her opening partner Lizelle Lee (40), together stitching a solid 76 run opening partnership. In the middle overs, Mignon du Preez (44) and Lara Goodall (38) played some fantastic cricket to take the South African score past 200. With the ball, India’s veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami failed to pick up any wickets. Shikha Pandey alongwith the spin twins Ekta Bisht and Poonam Yadav struck with two scalps each.

India’s highest ODI run chase also came against the Proteas when they chased down the target of 245. On Friday, the Women in Blue created a new record as they went on the chase 247 quite comfortably. Riding on mellifluous half centuries of skipper Mithali Raj (66) and Punam Raut (65), India managed to win the game with two overs to spare. Harmanpreet Kaur provided just the right finish as she struck a delightful 39 (27) which included five smooth hits to the fence and one ferocious one over it. With dollops of hardwork put together by the Indian batters who kept the South African bowlers at bay, India created history on Friday.

The two sides will meet on Monday at the same venue for the last and final ODI of the three-match ODI series. India has taken an unassailable lead of 2-0 and the Monday match will be nothing more than a dead rubber.

 

Juili Ballal

(Juili has represented Mumbai Women’s Team, she is an IIT’ian while also does Cricket Journalism)