Skipper Mithali Raj and veteran batter Punam Raut scored impressive half centuries to guide India to a series-clinching five-wicket win over South Africa in the second ODI in Vadodara on Friday.
India first restricted South Africa to 247/6 after electing to field and then returned to overhaul the target with two overs to spare and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
It was the highest successful run-chase in ODIs for the women in blue. Their previous best also came against South Africa (245) in 2017.
This was also the fifth consecutive bilateral ODI series win for Raj and Co.
Earlier in the day, pacer Shikha Pandey (2/38), left-arm spinner Ekta Bist (2/45) and leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (2/42) returned with two wickets each to keep the visitors to a below-par, even if competitive, score.
Chasing 248 to win, India lost openers Priya Punia (20) and Jemimah Rodrigues (18) early to slip to 66/2 in 12.5 overs.
However, Raut (65 off 92) and Raj (66 off 82) resurrected the chase by sharing a 129-run partnership for the third wicket.
Marizanne Kapp (1/29) broke the stand when she had the captain caught by Laura Wolvaardt in the 40th over. That started a mini collapse for India. In the next over, Raut too departed when she holed out to Kapp off Ayabonga Khaka, leaving India at 196/1 in 40.1 overs.
But Harmanpreet Kaur made sure a familiar collapse was avoided as she hit an unbeaten quick-fire 27-ball 39, laced with five boundaries and a six, to take India home with 12 balls to spare.
Earlier put into bat, openers Lizelle Lee (40) and Laura Wolvaardt (69) gave South Africa a solid start, taking them to 76 in 15.4 overs. Once Lee was removed by Poonam, Trisha Chetty (22) gave company to Wolvaardt, adding 51 runs.
Pandey provided India twin breakthroughs, dismissing Chetty and Wolvaardt, as South Africa slumped to 142 for 3.
Mignon du Preez (44) and Lara Goodall (38) took the visiting team past the 200-run mark. However, once Goodall was dismissed in the 43rd over, skipper Sune Luus (12) couldn’t stay long either. Du Preez took South Africa close to 250 before falling in the last over.
India will now play South Africa in the third and final ODI on October 14.
This series is not part of the ICC Women’s Championship that determines qualification for the 2021 World Cup.
South Africa: 247/6 in 50 overs (L Wolvaardt 69, M du Preez 44, S Pandey 2/38)
India: 248/5 in 48 overs (P Raut 65, M Raj 66, A Khaka 3/69).