India defeat South Africa by 9 Wickets to Level ODI Series 1-1. Here’s how it happened:

After winning the toss and opting to field, Mithali Raj led the Indian side restricted South Africa to 157 runs. Here is what happened:

 

Smriti Mandhana in action in 2nd ODI vs South Africa. PC: BCCI Women / Twitter
Smriti Mandhana in action in 2nd ODI vs South Africa. PC: BCCI Women / Twitter

 

After facing a defeat in the first ODI, India eyed for a good start so as to get back into the game. With one change in the playing XI, Mansi Joshi had come in for Monica Patel. South African openers Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt looked forward to a good start, just like the first ODI. As they entered the field to bat, Jhulan Goswami and Mansi Joshi’s experience with the ball worked wonders as they took down the openers and left the team at 30/2 after 8 overs. South Africa had planned their batting very well as they kept rotating the strike between Skipper Sune Luus and Lara Goodall. The partnership went well until Mansi Joshi struck for the second time to take down Luus at 36 and leave South Africa at 80/3. The visitors went 4 down as Rajeshwari Gayakwad took no time to take a wicket and left them struggling at 99/4 at the end of the 26th over.

Jhulan Goswami had almost taken her third wicket just before the ball was declared as a no-ball. In her next over she took the 5th wicket for India. Lara Goodall couldn’t complete her half-century as vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur opened her bowling with a wicket. Within no time, Jhulan Goswami took 2 straight wickets taking her match tally to 4 and thereby completing her 30th wicket against South Africa, leaving the batters at 144/8. Rajeshwari Gayakwad posted her career-best figures against South Africa as she took down the final two batters on the field ending South Africa’s innings at 157 in 40.6 overs.

Chasing a target of 158, India openers Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues came in to bat, and surprisingly, Mandhana hit Shabmin Ismail for two straight sixes in the very first over. The first over ended with a handful of 13 runs for team India. Jemimah started her play with a well-hit boundary, again to Ismail’s ball in her next over. Just when Ismail’s over got expensive, she took youngster Jemimah down for just 9 runs and left India at 22/1 in the fifth over. That was South Africa’s breakthrough in the innings.

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Post the first wicket, South African women showed brilliance on the field to restrict India as Mandhana and Punam Raut struggled to put runs on board. Going slow and steady, it took 47 minutes for Smriti and Punam to post a boundary as they kept juggling between singles and doubles. But Mandhana refused to stop as she hit SA for a third six, thereby surpassing Alyssa Healy for hitting the most number of sixes in ODIs since 2018, taking her tally to 22!

In no time, Punam Raut joined Mandhana and continued hitting boundaries. In a short while, Mandhana hit two fours back to back to bring up her 18th ODI half-century. It could have been a major setback for team India when Sune Luus took down Mandhana, but the umpire had declared it as a no-ball. Going strong with the bat, Punam got her 14 ODI fifty, and this one was with a boundary too! All the boundaries by the two were very well placed, leaving no scope for the South Africans to chase the ball.

Towards the end, Mandhana started hitting sixes and fours with utmost ease, thereby ending the tournament with a magnificent boundary!

India won the game by 9 wickets and the second wicket partnership ended very well at 138 runs, making it the best against South Africa. It was a brilliant game by Smriti Mandhana as the team came back into the game and leveled the series 1-1.

Smriti Mandhana has also become India’s most prolific opener with 2047* runs and she has surpassed Jaya Sharma’s tally of 2039 as the opener.

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In the end, Jhulan Goswami was named the man of the match for her 4 wicket haul & Smriti Mandhana was named the game changer of the match for her 80* (64) which included 10 fours and 3 sixes.

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