Summary: 1st ODI – Priya Punia’s dream debut helps India beat South Africa by 8 wickets

India women won the first ODI against South Africa women thus going 1-0 up in the series. The match which was played in Baroda saw an all-round performance from the hosts, with the bowlers getting breakthroughs and some responsible batting at the top.

Priya Punia ODI Debut
Priya Punia scores 75* in her ODI Debut

South Africa after winning the toss opted to bat first. In the first ball itself, explosive batter Lizelle Lee was rendered LBW by pace legend Jhulan Goswami who was back in the India colors. The bowling unit of India fared well, taking frequent wickets and not giving away easy runs. Goswami led the pace attack scalping 3 wickets while Shikha Pandey took 2 important wickets which included that of the Proteas captain Suné Luus and all-rounder Nadine de clerk who was trapped LBW and dismissed for a duck.

Ekta Bisht took crucial wickets of Trisha Chetty and Mignon du Preez while Poonam Yadav wrapped up the lower order. Deepti Sharma also managed to get the important wicket of Laura Wolvaardt who was batting well until delivery of Sharma turned back in and went through the bat-pad gap to hit the stumps.

As for the South Africa batters, they lost wickets in a bunch and could not continue the winning momentum that they had got in the final match of the concluded T20I series. After Wolvaardt was out, Luus and de Clerk fell in no time leaving Marizanne Kapp who was batting well, with no stable partner to establish a partnership with. Kapp was exceptional, striking boundaries now and then and took the innings forward. She made a resilient half-century and safeguarded one end of the batting. A lofted shot in the 46th oversaw the end of her knock as Punam Raut held on to the catch in the cover region. South Africa was bowled out giving a target of 165 runs for India to chase. Wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia was quick behind the stumps as usual. She did two quick stumpings and took a behind catch as well.

India’s chase saw a calm and composed approach from the opening batters. Jemimah Rodrigues was paired with debutant Priya Punia who was given the opportunity to open in place of usual opener Smriti Mandhana who was ruled out of the series owing to a toe injury. Punia took her time in the middle and along with Rodrigues formed a formidable partnership. Rodrigues departed after a well made 55 of 65 balls in the 21st over when she tried to sweep Shangase but got beaten.

Punam Raut and Punia then moved the scorecard together. After Raut departed in the 32nd over off de Clerk, captain Mithali Raj walked in to the crease. A couple of boundaries and Raj and Punia took India over the line.

It was a dream ODI debut for Priya Punia who starred in India’s victory. Kapp dropping Punia early in her innings proved to be costly for the Proteas. The opener carried her bat at the end of the innings scoring 75 runs and helped India chase the score in the 42nd over itself.

From South Africa’s side, Nadine de Clerk and debutant Nondumiso Shangase got one wicket each.

For her brilliant unbeaten knock, Priya Punia was selected as the Player of the match. Deepti Sharma’s wicket of Wolvaardt earned her the Dream 11 GameChanger of the match award while Ambuja Cement Atoot Jodi of the match was awarded to Jemimah Rodrigues and Priya Punia courtesy their 83 run partnership.

South Africa Women’s innings: 164 all out in 45.1 overs

India Women’s innings: 165/2 in 41.4 overs

Result: India Women won by 8 wickets with 50 balls remaining

Player of the match: Priya Punia