Monday, July 22, 2024

Ton-up Smriti, spinners hand India massive win over SA


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Bengaluru, June 16: Smriti Mandhana’s resolute hundred and a disciplined bowling effort, led by spinners Deepti Sharma and Asha Shobana, piloted India to a huge 143-run win over South Africa in the first women’s ODI here on Sunday.
India now lead the three-match series 1-0, and the second game will be played here on June 19.
Mandhana’s sixth ODI century (117, 127 balls , 12x4s, 1×6) formed the fulcrum of India’s competitive 265 for eight on a sluggish Chinnaswamy pitch.
Then the Indian bowlers worked their magic around the South African batters to bowl out the visitors for 122 as debutante leg-spinner Asha (4/21) led the show with a frugal spell and was well-supported by offie Deepti (2/10).
Pacer Renuka Singh (1/30) gave India the perfect start, dismissing the in-form South Africa skipper Laura Wolvaardt in the first over itself.
Wolvaardt had no answer for an excellent nip-backer from Renuka that clipped the top of her off-stump.
The Indians soon fetched the wickets of Tazmine Brits and Anneke Bosch as the tourists slumped to 33 for three.
The experienced Marizane Kapp (24, 39 balls), who hammered Renuka for successive four and six, tried to revive the innings with Sune Luus who fought well with a 33.
But their fourth wicket alliance of 39 runs consumed 68 balls as the asking rate climbed over seven which never really came down thereafter.
Asha ended that struggle when the leg-spinner had Kapp caught at covers by Harmanpreet Kaur.
At five down for 74, South Africa were always facing the climb up the hill.
Earlier, India’s script for victory was written by Mandhana, who thrilled the home crowd with a well-paced hundred.
Mandhana stitched two significant partnerships with the feisty Deepti and Pooja Vastrakar (31 not out) to take India out of trouble after the hosts found themselves at 99 for five at one stage.
Mandhana and Deepti added 81 runs (92 balls) for the sixth wicket and Pooja, who had to leave the field later with a knee niggle while fielding, assisted the Indian vice-captain to make 58 runs (54 balls) for the seventh wicket.
Mandhana has a lot of flair in her batting.
But here she was forced to eschew that because of the team situation and the sluggish nature of the pitch to which India top-order batters like Shafali Verma (7), Harmanpreet (10) and Jemimah Rodrigues (17) failed to adapt, leading to their soft dismissals.
Mandhana was on 33 when India’s fifth batter fell, and she had to preserve her wicket to take India forward.
Largely making her runs through those nips and tucks, Mandhana was also happy to free her hands when width was offered.
The left-hander’s swivel pull off debutant pacer Anne Dercksen and a little shimmy down the track to deposit offie Nondumiso Shangase over mid-on had streaks of her elegance.
But credit should also go to Deepti in making Mandhana’s job easier, playing a confident innings.
Deepti picked her bowlers and spots well to accumulate runs. The left-hander took a liking for Shangase, whom she swept for all her three boundaries.
But the low bounce did Deepti in as she dragged pacer Ayabonga Khaka’s wide delivery on to her stumps.
However, Mandhana continued her solid ways and reached 99 off 115 balls from 93 with a beautifully timed six off pacer Masabata Klaas over mid-on. She took a single in the next ball of Klaas to reach hundred in 116 balls. Mandhana soon fell to Klaas but by then she had helped India reach a handy total. (PTI)


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