INDW v/s SAW: South Africa defeat India again, win series 4-1
Indian women's cricket team fell to their third consecutive defeat and concede the series 4-1 at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow.
The Women in Blue lost their third successive match as South Africa registered a 5 wicket win in the last ODI to clinch the series 4-1 at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow.
Sent into bat first for the fourth time in the series, the Indian women yet again lost an early wicket as Marizanne Kaap sent back Priya Punia (18) after a brisk start in just the sixth over of the innings, once again leaving the onus on Punam Raut to bail out the team.
But, it was not to be as the in-form Raut encountered a rare failure in the series and was prized out by the off-spinner Nondumiso Shangase for just 10 runs. Mandhana followed the suit soon after to leave India reeling at 53 for 3 inside the first 13 overs.
India's two of the most experienced batters, skipper Mithali Raj and vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur then focused on rebuilding and stitched a 71 run stand. Just when things were looking up for the Indians, Kaur (30*) walked off the field after injuring herself.
Once Kaur walked off the field, the entire responsibility came down on the shoulders of Raj, and as usual she kept on batting holding up one end while the rest of batswomen fell like a pack of cards. Raj's fighting innings of 79* off 104 ensured that the Indian bowlers had something to bowl at.
Nadine de Klerk was the best bowler for South Africa with the figures of 3-35, while Shangase and Tumi Sekhukhune scalped two each.
Chasing a mere 189 to win, the South African women seemed to have choked right at the very beginning as Rajeshwari Gayakwad made the opposition top order dance to her tunes to leave South Africa reeling at 3 for 2 inside the first four overs. Dayalan Hemalatha too chipped in with one soon after as the South African women were left in tatters at 27 for 3.
What followed was a match-decisive partnership as Mignon du Perez and Anneke Bosch stitched a 96 run stand, bringing up their respective half-centuries along the way. Just when the Indians started dropping, Bosch (58) gift-wrapped her wicket to the debutant Challuru Prathyusha to give India a sniff. Perez (57) too fell two overs later to Gayakwad, leaving South Africa with 58 more to get with 5 wickets in hand.
Just when it looked as if the Indians were back in the game Kapp (36*) and Nadine de Klerk (19*) shut the door on Indians as they took South Africa home with no further casualities.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad starred for India with the ball, taking 3-13 in her 10 overs while Prathyusha and Hemalatha chipped in with a wicket apiece.