India women romped to their fifth straight win in the Women’s World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday, beating South Africa by 49 runs in a low-scoring contest at the P Sara Oval.

India’s success in the qualifiers have largely been aided by their spinners. But in this match, it was Shikha Pandey’s medium-pacers that set the tone for victory. Pandey finished with figures of 4/34.

After being sent into bat, India scored 205 for the loss of 8 wickets. Skipper Mithali Raj (64) and opener Mona Meshram’s (55) scored half-centuries, but the middle order failed to build on that platform. India managed to score only 83 runs in the last 18 overs, losing seven wickets in the process.

In reply, the South Africans never got going, losing wickets at regular intervals. Barring Trisha Chetty’s battling 52, there were little contributions from the other batters as they progressed laboriously against the Indian spinners, and were dismissed for 156.

Meshram, who was drafted in as a replacement for the injured Smriti Mandhana, took full use of a rare chance to impress. The run rate picked up when Mithali arrived at the crease. The Indian skipper found the boundary at will and stitched a 96-run stand for the second wicket with Meshram.

South African captain Dane van Niekerk became the first woman from her country to get to 100 One-day International wickets when she dismissed Meshram.

Mithali attacked the South African batting with a spin-pace combination and it worked wonders from the onset as India scalped two quick wickets. Chetty and Marizanne Kapp stabilised their side’s chase with a 52-run stand for the fourth wicket. However, Pandey and Bisht then cleaned up the lower middle-order.

India are already through to the Super Six stage. Their forthcoming games are against Bangladesh and arch-rivals Pakistan.

Brief scores

  • India 205/8 in 50 overs (Mithali Raj 64, Mona Meshram 55; Marizanne Kapp 2/23, Ayabonga Khaka 2/44) beat South Africa 156 in 46.4 overs (Trisha Chetty 52, Marizanne Kapp 29; Shikha Pandey 4/34, Ekta Bisht 3/22) by 49 runs