Ageless Goswami, imperious Mandhana star in India's comprehensive win

Shajin Mohanan S
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Ageless Goswami, imperious Mandhana star in India's comprehensive win

India celebrate a wicket against South Africa © BCCI

An incisive spell by Jhulan Goswami and an imperious Smriti Mandhana innings along with her 138-run unbeaten partnership with Punam Raut in the second ODI helped India level the five-match series with a clinical wicket win against South Africa at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Tuesday (March 9).

Put into bat, South Africa lost Lizelle Lee in the first over when she was trapped in front by Goswami with an angled ball that seemed like going down leg. Laura Wolvaardt started with a couple of boundaries but was dismissed by Mansi Joshi. Replacing Monica Patel in the XI, Joshi got the bowl to move away forcing the right-hander to nick it to Sushma Verma behind the wicket.

From 20 for 2, Sune Luus and Lara Goodall added another 60 runs from 15.3 overs. Luus started with a boundary through cover off Joshi before driving her for another four in her next over. At the other end, Goodall looked solid as the pair slowly started rebuilding the innings. Luus added three more boundaries off the spinners to take her score to 36.

However, Joshi came back to dismiss the South Africa skipper in a similar fashion to Wolvaardt with a delivery that was fuller in length to break the partnership. Although Mignon du Preez started confidently, Rajeshwari Gayakwad accounted for her when she was on 11 with Deepti Sharma taking a good low catch at covers.

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When it looked like Goodall and Marizanne Kapp were leading the recovery, Goswami struck with the first ball post drinks when Kapp edged a leg-side delivery to mid-wicket for 10 to reduce South Africa to 113 for 5. South Africa needed Goodall to bat through the innings to take them to a competitive total, but Harmanpreet Kaur castled the left-hander one run short of her fifty in the 34th over.

Goswami added two more wickets to her tally when she bowled Nadine de Klerk and Shabnim Ismail in the space of three deliveries. The lower-order couldn’t add much to the score as South Africa were bundled out for 157 in 41 overs.

For India, Goswami finished with figures of 4 for 42 from her ten overs while Gayakwad took three wickets.

Chasing 158 to win, Smriti Mandhana got off to a whirlwind start with two consecutive sixes of the first two deliveries she faced. Even though Jemimah Rodrigues hit a boundary down the ground, she was dismissed for yet another single digit score when she tried to go for a pull off Ismail and played on.

Meanwhile, Mandhana continued to bat flawlessly as she first caressed Ismail between mid-off and cover before lofting Ayabonga Khaka over mid-off for four and then launched Nonkululeko Mlaba for a six. Raut at the other end struggled to find her timing, got into the innings with a couple of boundaries off Mlaba in the 15th over.

In the 17th over, with Luus bringing herself into the attack, Mandhana played a late cut to add another boundary to her credit before driving Ismail for four. In Ismail’s next over Mandhana smashed two consecutive boundaries to bring up her fifty off 46 balls.

South Africa bowlers struggled with their length, de Klerk dropping Raut on 30 the off Khaka didn’t help the matters either. Mandhana continued to pick up boundaries at will as she toyed with the visitors’ bowling. She first came down the track to drive Luus down the ground for a four before flicking de Klerk for another boundary. In the same de Klerk over, Mandhana-Raut duo brought up their century partnership.

At the other end, Raut was upping the ante as well and got to her fifty off 79 balls with a lap sweep for four. Mandhana launched de Klerk over mid-off for two consecutive boundaries to finish the match in the 29th over. She remained not out on 80 off 64 balls. The pair added an unbeaten 138 for the second wicket.

Brief Scores: South Africa 157/10 in 41 overs (Lara Goodall 49, Sune Luus 36; Jhulan Goswami 4/42, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 3/37) lost to India 160/1 in 28.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 80*, Punam Raut 62*) by nine wickets.