The much anticipated South Africa’s tour of India finally kick-started on Sunday. The Proteas will be playing a five-match ODI series and a three-match T20I series over the next fortnight. The first ODI was played on Sunday at Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow.
Winning the toss and electing to bowl first, the visitors restricted the hosts to a modest 177-9 in 50 overs. Playing an international fixture after almost a year, it was expected that the Women in Blue would take some time to find their groove. The opening pair of Jemimah Rodrigues (1) and Smriti Mandhana (14) fell inside six overs. Mandhana looked good during her 20-ball stay as she smashed three boundaries. However, in the fifth over of the game, a right-arm quick Ayabonga Khaka got the better of her. Punam Raut (10), who came in after the fall of the southpaw, got off to a steady start but perished when she tried to pull one off Shabnim Ismail. India was struggling for 40-3, when the captain Mithali Raj and her deputy Harmanpreet Kaur (40) came together and stitched an 82-run partnership. Playing her 100th ODI, Kaur looked good as she took on the attack to the opposition. Raj, as usual, was poised and paved her way to bring up her 54th half-century in ODIs. Deepti Sharma too chipped in with 27 runs, but after that, there was a collapse, as the lower order and the tail failed to wag. Ismail was the pick of the bowlers for Proteas as she scalped 3-28 in her 10 overs.
Should India make any change in the XI for 2nd ODI vs South Africa? #INDvSA
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) March 7, 2021
In reply, South Africa made a mockery of the chase as Sune Luus and co. chased down the target in 40.1 overs, with eight wickets in hand. The opening pair of Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt (80) put together 169 runs in 37.1 overs and took the game away from India. Lee (83) remained unbeaten and saw her team home. Wolvaardt and Lee smashed the Indian bowlers all around the park as the duo hit 23 boundaries and a six between themselves. Skipper Sune Luus had a rare off day at the office as she got out cheaply scoring just a single run. Apart from India’s star pace spearhead Jhulan Goswami, none of the other bowlers was able to pick up wickets. Goswami struck with 2-38 in her 10 overs.
South Africa’s Shabnim Ismail won the Player of the Match award for her stellar bowling performance. The two sides will lock horns against each other on Tuesday at the same venue to play the second ODI.
Brief Scores: India 177-9 in 50 overs (M Raj 50, H Kaur 40; S Ismail 3-28) lost to South Africa 178-2 in 40.1 overs (L Lee 83 not out, L Wolvaardt 80; J Goswami 2-38) by 8 wickets
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.