Splendid Smriti Mandhana, bowlers help India sweep the series

Smriti Mandhana scored 343 runs in the series at a batting average of 114.33 and a strike rate of 103.94

Shajin Mohanan S
New Update
Team India and Smriti Mandhana

India swept the series 3-0 © Getty Images

All-round bowling efforts and Smriti Mandhana’s imperious form helped India beat South Africa by six wickets in the third ODI and sweep the series 3-0 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday (June 23). Arundhati Reddy and Deepti Sharma headlined India’s bowling as they pegged South Africa back from 102 for no loss to restrict them to just 215 for 8.

Opting bat first after winning the toss, South Africa started well with Laura Wolvaardt continuing her good form. Although India were frugal in the first few overs with Shreyanka Patil and Arundhati keeping it tight, introduction of Pooja Vastrakar opened the floodgates as Wolvaardt smashed the pacer for four boundaries to end the powerplay.

From there, it looked like Wolvaardt and South Africa were full control she brought up the 100-run stand with Tazmin Brits. Looking for breakthroughs, India turned to Arundhati and she pulled off two stunning return catches to help India back in the game. In between this, a mix-up with Marizanne Kapp meant Brits also had to walk back to the pavilion. 

Once Shreyanka removed Kapp with third return catch of the innings, South Africa fell away and went from 102 for 0 to 178/8. Deepti almost got a hat-trick in between this when she dismissed Nadine de Klerk and Nonkululeko Mlaba in consecutive deliveries. 

Mieke de Ridder and Tumi Sekhukhune put on a mini-recovery from there to help South Africa cross the 200-run mark and eventually post 215 for 8 on the board.

But with the kind of touch Mandhana had in the first two matches, it was never going to be enough. The left-hander peppered the off side in the power play leaving South Africa searching for answers. At the other end, Shafali Verma also added three boundaries to her name as India reached 50 in the powerplay.

After doing the hard yards, Shafali once again perished in the 20s as she was caught by Anneke Bosch at point off Sekhukhune. That brought Priya Punia, playing her first match of the series, to the crease. Although she had a couple of edges, Punia looked solid for most part of her innings as she unleashed a few cover drives. Then she launched Nondumiso Shangase over long-on.

However, the effort to keep going for their shots meant Punia was dismissed in the same fashion as Shafali with Bosch completing another catch at point. None of this stopped Mandhana as she moved into the 90s but not before she employed some inside out shorts and drives through the covers. 

Just as it seemed lik Mandhana will complete a hat-trick of centuries at her WPL home ground, the RCB captain went for a sweep and top-edged Mlaba to Ayabonga Khaka at short fine-leg. Although she fell for 90, Mandhana amassed 343 runs in the series - the most in a three-match ODI series - at an astonishing batting average of 114.33 and a strike rate of 103.94.

From there, captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues took India almost to the finishing line without much fuss before a run out ended Harmanpreet’s innings.

That set the stage for Richa Ghosh to finish things off in style and she obliged by smashing Sekhukhune well over long-on for a six to end the match and the series. 

Brief scores: South Africa 215/8 in 50 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 61, Tazmin Brits 38; Deepti Sharma 2/27, Arundhati Reddy 2/36) lost to India 220/4 in 40.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 90, Harmanpreet Kaur 42; Ayabonga Khaka 1/38) by 6 wickets POTM: Deepti Sharma POTS: Smriti Mandhana