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2nd ODI: Mandhana, Harmanpreet, Vastrakar shine as India beat South Africa by four runs; win series 2-0

Bengaluru, June 19 2024-

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and her deputy Smriti Mandhana slammed a century each and pacer Pooja Vastrakar bowled a superb final over as India Women defeated South Africa by four runs in a well-fought second One-day International that ended in a thriller and gave India an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Wednesday.

Mandhana struck a 120-ball 136, a century in her second successive match, and shared a 171-run partnership for the third wicket with Harmanpreet Kaur, who hammered an unbeaten 103 off 88 balls as India posted a massive 325/3 in 50 overs. Opener Shafali Verma (20), Dayalan Hemalatha (24) and Richa Ghosh (25 not out) were the other scorers for India as they made the most of the opportunity after being asked to bat first by South Africa.

South Africa captain Laura Wolvaardt scored a run-a-ball 135 while Marizanne Kapp blasted a 94-ball 114 to keep South Africa in the hunt. But the visitors lost the way in the last couple of overs and were restricted to 321/6 in 50 overs as India won the match which is part of the ICC Women’s Championship.

South Africa were struggling at 67/3 at one stage before Kapp and Wolvaardt shared a superb partnership to not only revive the innings but also raise hopes of a victory in the high-scoring slugfest.

Chasing a massive 326, South Africa lost Tanzim Brits (5), Anneke Bosch (15) and Sune Luus (12) early and were struggling at 67/3 in the 15th over before Kapp and Wolvaardt came together to raise 184 runs for the fourth wicket partnership and take them to 251 when Kapp was out. The 34-year-old Kapp hammered 11 boundaries and three sixes as she rescued her team in the company of her skipper. Kapp reached her half-century off 53 balls and her century off 85 balls as she gained confidence.

Her departure to a catch by Vastrakar off Deepti Sharma, Wolvaardt, who completed her fifty off 69 balls and a hundred from 119 balls, kept South Africa in the hunt as they reached the final stage of the match needing 23 runs from the last 12 deliveries.

Nadine de Klerk blasted a six off Arundhati Reddy on the last ball as South Africa scored 12 runs off the 49th over. They needed 11 runs from the last six balls bowled by Vastrakar.

The Indian pacer kept her nerve despite being edged for a four by de Klerk, bringing the equation to 6 runs off four balls, as she dismissed Nadine off the third ball of the match, getting her to offer an easy catch to Arundhati at long-on. Vastrakar then struck a decisive blow by sending back Nondumiso Shangase, caught by skipper Harmanpreet. South Africa needed a six off the final ball of the match but Wolvaardt could manage only manage only two runs as India won the match by four runs.

Vastrakar finished with 2-54 while Deepti Sharma bagged 2-56 in her 10 overs. Smriti Mandhana took 1-13 to add to the century she struck.

Earlier, opener Mandhana etched her name in the annals of women’s cricket history by equaling former captain Mithali Raj’s all-time Indian record for the most centuries in women’s ODIs. Mandhana’s brilliant knock of 136 runs brought her level with the legendary Raj.

Following her century in the series opener, when she scored 117 runs, the flamboyant left-hander continued her superb form—her back-to-back centuries made her the first Indian woman to achieve this feat in ODI cricket.

The match began with a cautious start for Mandhana, who was kept quiet by the South African bowlers during the first powerplay. India lost opener Shafali Verma early, leaving Mandhana to anchor the innings. She meticulously built her innings, reaching 19 off 40 balls before shifting gears to dominate the bowlers. Her composed approach paid off as she reached her century in just 103 balls, eventually scoring 136 off 120 balls.

Mandhana’s knock was adorned with 18 boundaries and two sixes, showcasing her ability to both accumulate and accelerate runs. Her efforts propelled India past the 200-run mark inside the 40th over, setting a strong foundation for a formidable total.

Supporting Mandhana at the other end was captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who also slammed an 87-ball century. The duo’s partnership was crucial in maintaining the momentum and putting pressure on the South African bowlers.

However, Mandhana was dismissed in the 46th over scoring 136 of 129 deliveries, attempting to hit Nonkululeko Mlaba over the cover region.

Brief scores:

India Women 325/3 in 50 overs (Smriti Mandhana 136, Harmanpreet Kaur 103 not out; Nonkululeko Mlaba 2-51) beat South Africa 321/6 off 50 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 135, Marizanne Kapp 114; Pooka Vastrakar 2-54, Deepti Sharma 2-56) by four runs. (Agency)

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