VADODARA: Riding on half-centuries by skipper Mithali Raj (66 off 82 balls) and Punam Raut (65 off 92 balls), India pulled off their highest successful chase in an ODI at the Reliance Stadium, winning by five wickets to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series against South Africa.
After the visitors made 247 for six upon being put in, the hosts chased down the 248-run target in 48 overs, losing five wickets in the process. India’s previous-highest ODI chase came against the same opponents, when they scored 245 in Colombo in 2017.
A blistering knock by Harmanpreet Kaur, who hit an unbeaten quickfire 27-ball 39, studded with five boundaries and a six, finished off the chase for India and seal the series. Kaur had walked in at a crucial stage when both Mithali and Raut were out in the space of four deliveries.
Openers Priya Punia and Jemimah Rodrigues added 34 for the first wicket before Rodrigues, who played some delightful shots, was caught and bowled by pacer Ayabonga Khaka in ninth over.
Punia, who had scored an unbeaten 75 on her ODI debut on Wednesday, this time scored 20 off 42 balls. When Punia feel, India were 66 for two in the 13th over. From then on, a 129-run stand for the third wicket between Mithali and Raut steadied the ship. At one point, it seemed that India would cruise to victory.
However, after both the batters completed their half-centuries, Raj was dismissed by Marizanne Kap, and in the next over, Raut was caught by Kapp off Khaka, leaving India at 196 for four in 40 overs.
India still required 52 off the last 10 overs and Deepti Sharma‘s dismissal in 44th over put more pressure on the hosts. However, Kaur toyed around with the SA bowling.
Brief Scores: South Africa 247-6 in 50 overs (L Wolvaardt 69, M du Preez 44; S Pandey 2-38) lost to India 248-5 in 48 overs (P Raut 65, M Raj 66; A Khaka 3-69) by five wickets.