Mithali Raj led from the front as India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series against South Africa. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Mithali Raj led from the front with a brilliant 66 and she received great support from Punam Raut's 65 and a blazing 39 from Harmanpreet Kaur as India Women's cricket team took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series against South Africa with a five-wicket win in the second match at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara. This continued India's domination after they had won the six-match Twenty20 International series 3-1. South Africa put up a good show as compared to the first ODI but once again, India showed greater discipline with both bat and ball.
India chose to bowl but Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt stitched a solid 76-run stand. Lee looked good for a fifty but she was sent back by Poonam Yadav. Wolvaardt notched up her fifty and she shared yet another fifty-plus stand with wicketkeeper Trisha Chetty. However, Shikha Pandey struck twice in couple of overs but South Africa still had some fight left with Mignon du Preez and Lara Goodall putting together a 59-run stand.
Heading into the death overs, South Africa suffered a jolt Ekta Bisht removed both batters. South Africa ended up with 247/6, with Shikha Pandey, Bisht and Poonam Yadav taking two wickets apiece. Chasing 248, Priya Punia and Jemimah Rodrigues shared a solid opening stand but Rodrigues was caught and bowled by Ayabonga Khaka for 18.
Punia struggled to get going and it was a far cry from her match-winning fifty in the first match and she was sent back by Shabnim Ismail. Raut and Mithali ensured that India did not suffer any other setbacks. Mithali and Raut rotated the strike and found the boundary when the opportunity presented itself. The 129-run stand put India on course for a win.
However, Khaka and Marizanne Kapp got the wickets of Raut and Mithali respectively and South Africa sensed an opening. When Deepti Sharma was bowled by Khaka, South Africa were in the game but Harmanpreet Kaur struck a six and followed it up with two boundaries off Khaka as India crossed the line. The third and final match will take place at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara on October 14. The ongoing series is not part of the ICC Women's ODI Championship.