Same spin story as India whitewash South Africa

Ekta Bisht in action. ©Getty Images

Shabnim Ismail has been going strong throughout the tour for South Africa. Her performances have always been there, causing problems to the opposition.
However, Marizanne Kapp’s presence is something. In the first ODI, her first match of the series, she struck a fifty to stabilize the South African innings. That gave the side the belief they can bat and in the second ODI they posted a tall score.
At the Reliance Cricket Ground in Vadodara on Monday (October 14), Kapp’s three-wicket haul helped the tourists bowl India out for a paltry 146. However, another batting failure from them meant that India edged them out in a nail-biting thriller, successfully defending the score and winning by a mere six runs. With that, they whitewashed the visitors 3-0 – their first ODI series whitewash since 2016.
It was just the fourth time that South Africa had failed to chase a sub-150 total in ODIs and was just the second time India successfully defended such a total since 2013.
Choosing to bat, India got off to one of the worst starts, losing both the openers Priya Punia (zero) and Jemimah Rodrigues (three) in the first two overs.
At two down for just five runs, the architects of India’s highest successful ODI chase, Punam Raut and Mithali Raj got together. Most of their 53-ball association seemed cut out of the style they followed in game two.
However, Raut’s misadventure, where she tried to hoick an Ayabonga Khaka ball across the line only to miss it, saw her depart for 15. Soon captain Raj also followed her back to the hut for 11 and India had lost the top four with just 39 runs on the board.
Kapp had two of the first four wickets to fall.
While Harmanpreet Kaur was holding one end up, Deepti Sharma and Taniya Bhatia’s dismissals left India reeling at six for 71 around the 30-over mark. It seemed, at that point, as if India would fold up pretty quickly. But Shikha Pandey joined her in the middle and the tale was a touch different.
While Kaur did the grafting, Pandey was quick to go after runs. Like a combination of fire and ice, the duo went along smoothly and added 49 runs together, before Kapp struck again. Her off-cutter to Kaur meant that the vice-captain played one on to her stumps on 38.
Pandey then went along breezily before her innings ended on 35, trying to take Tumi Sekhukhune on. The end, then, was nigh and the hosts were bundled out.
Apart from Kapp, who took three, Ismail and Khaka picked up two apiece, while Nondumiso Shangase, Sune Luus and Sekhukhune had one wicket each to show for their efforts.
In defence of 146, India began on the right note, sending back Lizelle Lee, who took three terrific catches in the first innings, and Trisha Chetty back pretty quickly. While extra bounce from a Mansi Joshi length ball saw the former caught behind, the latter had a forgettable comeback, throwing it away against Ekta Bisht.
Soon, they lost half their side with just 63 runs on board. Four of those had fallen to spin. Again.
But Kapp’s presence in the middle, as she joined Luus, seemed to bring in a sense of calm for the tourists. Just when it appeared that the pair would see the side home safely, Luus smashed one straight to Bisht and that ended the 40-run partnership. The captain had 24 against her name.
Summoned to bowl the 37th over, Deepti delivered a wicket-maiden, snaffling out Kapp in the process. She made 29 off 43 balls and with her departure, South Africa’s hopes appeared to be dashed.
However, when Ismail and Shangase pulled their way close to ten overs, adding 18 runs, it looked as if South Africa may just manage to get over the line. When the duo fell in quick succession, the crowd in Baroda, that was to the tune of 9,000, seemed at least thrice of what it was.
And in a move that looked out of the blue moon, Rodrigues was asked to bowl the 48th over, where she dismissed Sekhukhune to pick up her first international wicket. A terrific low catch by Deepti at slip saw India sneak home by the skin of their teeth.
It was another South African batting implosion, triggered by the hosts’ tweakers.
 
Brief Scores: India 146 all out in 45.5 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 38, Shikha Pandey 35; Marizanne Kapp 3/20, Shabnim Ismail 2/18, Ayabonga Khaka 2/33) beat South Africa 140 all out in 48 overs (Marizanne Kapp 29, Sune Luus 24; Ekta Bisht 3/32, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2/22, Deepti Sharma 2/24) by six runs. PoM: Ekta Bisht. PoS: Marizanne Kapp.