Laura Wolvaardt and Mignon du Preez © Getty Images
Laura Wolvaardt and Mignon du Preez © Getty Images

South Africa Women‘s clinical show handed them a consolation win by 7 wickets in the third and final ODI at Potchefstroom. After being criticised for poor show with the bat and ball in the previous two matches, South Africa answered the call by denying India their maiden whitewash over them.

It started off with Shabnim Ismail’s four-wicket haul that stuttered India’s progress. The batters followed it with an all-round show where Laura Wolvaardt and Mignon du Preez brought up fifties. Dane van Niekerk added a captain’s knock as South Africa reached the set target with 4 balls to spare. With the completion of the three-match ODI series, India are placed second below West Indies in the ICC Women’s ODI Championship table. As for South Africa, they earn 2 points and have gone above Sri Lanka at the seventh spot.

Chasing 241, Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee were off to a watchful start. India, however, turned the tables as Shikha Pandey struck in her second spell and got South Africa’s mainstay batter Lee for 10. Andrie Steyn swung back the momentum in hosts’ favour as she launched barrage of boundaries. New bowler Pooja Vastrakar and Shikha were hammered in the Powerplay. India deeply felt the absence of Jhulan Goswami, who was rested for the dead rubber. The Indian spinners, however, came good with their length and restricted the flow of runs.

Last match’s star with the ball, Poonam Yadav once again gave India hope as she removed the dangerous Steyn for 30. The Indian spinners were accurate with their bowling and kept South Africa on backfoot in the middle overs. But that did not stop Wolvaardt from becoming the youngest woman to complete 1,000 ODI runs. She reached the milestone in her 28th match at an average of 45.5. Wolvaardt and du Preez accelerated the innings and soon weaved a 100-run stand. In the process, they also brought up their respective fifties.

When the equation read 72 from 66, Ekta Bisht finally handed another major breakthrough by removing South Africa’s settled opener Wolvaardt 59, courtesy a stunning catch by Harmanpreet. Skipper van Niekerk then exploded and made the chase look comfortable Van Niekerk scored quickfire 30-ball 41 and du Preez remained unbeaten on 90*

Electing to bat, India Women were reduced to 10 for 2. Following Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana’s dismissal, Deepti Sharma and Harmanpreet Kaur took charge of the innings. They provided resistance to an innings that was dominated by South African bowlers. Deepti lost her third partner as well. Once Veda Krisnamurthy came in, India snatched the momentum from South Africa.

Deepti, meanwhile, completed 1,000 ODI runs and became the 10th Indian woman to this feat. She also became the 84th women cricketer to reach this landmark. Once Veda was dismissed, Deepti accelerated the innings and took India to the 200-mark. The lower-order rose to the occasions and cameos from Shikha Pandey, Sushma Verma helped India post a competitive total of 240.

The teams will lock horns for the T20Is which begins from February 13.

Brief scores: 

India 240 all out in 50 overs (Deepti Sharma 79, Veda Krishnamurthy 56; Shabnim Ismail 4 for 30, Chloe Tryon 2 for 48) lose to South Africa Women 241 for 3 in 49.2 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 59, Mignon du Preez 90*, Dane van Niekerk 41*; Ekta Bisht 1 for 38) by 7 wickets

Player of the Match: Mignon du Preez