The Indian women’s team led by veteran Mithali Raj started its tour of South Africa with a massive 88 run win against the hosts at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley. Raj won the toss and chose for India to bat first. And thanks to a superb knock by Smriti Mandhana, the team finished 213/7 in their 50 overs.
In reply, South Africa struggled to form any sort of partnerships and kept losing wickets at regular intervals, in the end, they succumbed to an 88-run defeat after being bowled out by India for just 125 runs.
After winning the toss, the Indian openers started out confidently as they put a fifty run partnership before Punam Raut was sent packing to the dressing room. Following the fall of the 1st wicket, captain Mithali Raj joined Mandhana in the middle and they successfully stitched a 99 run partnership.
However, both were dismissed within 4 balls of each other, as India looked to get the scoring rate going. Apart from the top 3, none of the middle order batsmen contributed much to the score, as wickets fells in close proximity to each other.
In the end, India finished at 213/7, with Mandhana the top scorer with 84 runs which included 8 fours and 1 six. The pick of the bowlers was Marizanne Kapp, who picked up 2 wickets for just 26 runs in her 10 overs.
The South African couldn’t take advantage of the brilliant performance by their bowlers as the hosts were reduced to 23/3 in just the 10th over. From there on it was only a matter of time before the Indian bowlers dismissed the remaining 7 batsmen. In the end, captain Dane van Niekerk was the highest scorer with 41 runs but she struggled to find an able partner to support her in the chase.
Players like Marizanne Kapp (23) and Sune Luus (21) did get starts in their innings but couldn’t manage to stretch their innings. India’s leading wicket-taker Jhulan Goswami, was again at the centre of everything as she picked up 4 crucial wickets for just 24 runs, while Shikha Pandey ended her spell with 3 wickets for 23 runs.
The second ODI will take place on Wednesday (7th February) at the Diamond Oval. This is a 3 match ODI series before the teams head towards a 5 match T20 series ending on 24th February.
Brief scores: India 213/7 in 50 overs (Smriti Mandhana 84, Mithali Raj 45) beat South Africa 125 all out in 43.2 overs (Dane van Niekerk 41, Jhulan Goswami 4/24, Shikha Pandey 3/23) by 88 runs.