Jhulan Goswami’s four-wicket haul was backed-up by Smriti Mandhana’s sparkling 80 not out as India outplayed South Africa by nine wickets in the second One-Day International to level the five-match series 1-1 in Lucknow on Tuesday.
The 38-year-old Goswami returned with figures of 10-0-42-4 and she was ably supported by fellow seamer Mansi Joshi (2/23) and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (3/37) as India dismissed South Africa for a paltry 157 after opting to field.
Opener Mandhana (80 not out off 64 balls) and Punam Raut (62 not out, 89 balls) then shared an unbeaten 138-run partnership for the second wicket with India overhauling the target in only 28.4 overs to bounce back from their eight-wicket loss in the first ODI.
“Our opening bowlers bowled well and put pressure on them. The spinners too found their rhythm in the middle overs. The fielding was good too,” said India captain Mithali Raj. “It looked like we had rhythm. We analysed after the first game what was needed to improve. I had a lot of feedback on the ground so that shows everyone was involved in the game as a unit.”
Player of the match Jhulan Goswami added: “It is challenging to play after a year. Tried to put the ball in the right areas. I always share my insights with the youngsters. Since the World Cup has been postponed to next year, I know I have to work hard on my fitness to be ready.”
Mandhana blasted 10 fours and three sixes while Raut took her time to get going before finishing with eight boundaries herself.
Mandhana made her intentions clear right from the start when she clubbed the first two balls of her innings for sixes off Shabnim Ismail (1/46).
However, India lost an early wicket when Jemimah Rodrigues (8 off 19 balls) dragged one onto the stumps in the fifth over. While India had not played for a year before the ongoing series, Jemimah’s poor form dates back to the 2020 World T20 as she hasn’t been amongst runs for a considerable period of time.
Mandhana was in full flow as she picked up boundaries regularly to keep the scoreboard ticking. If the short balls were dispatched over the ropes, one outside the off-stump was sent to the third-man boundary with a deft late cut and anything full-ish was driven through the covers.
Raut exploded in the 15th over, blasting two fours off Nonkululeko Mlaba.
In the 20th over, Mandhana picked up successive fours to get to her fifty in style, while Raut crossed the 50-run mark with an innovative short behind the keeper.
Mandhana eventually scored the winning runs with successive fours over mid-off in the 29th over.
Earlier, Lara Goodall was the most successful batter for South Africa as she scored a 77-ball 49, while skipper Sune Luus chipped in with a 57-ball 36.
Electing to field, the Indian pacers were rewarded for bowling a probing line as Goswami and Joshi made early breakthroughs, dismissing openers Lizelle Lee (4) and Laura Wolvaardt (9) cheaply.
Luus and Goodall then added 60 runs but Joshi returned to dismiss the South Africa skipper in the 21st over.
The spinners then took control of the proceedings as Deepti Sharma and Gayakwad bowled in tandem.
In the 26th over, Mignon du Preez (11) was caught by Deepti at cover after she was deceived in the air by Gayakwad.
India skipper Mithali Raj made some excellent bowling changes as Goswami returned to get rid of Marizanne Kapp (10) and vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur cleaned up Goodall with her first delivery, reducing South Africa to 130/6.
Goswami struck twice in the 38th over, cleaning up Nadine de Klerk (8) and Shabnim Ismail (0) to reduce South Africa to 144/8. Chetty was later dismissed by Gayakwad, with the left-arm spinner also accounting for Nonkululeko Mlaba.
(With inputs from PTI)
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