Smriti Mandhana    Getty Images
Smriti Mandhana Getty Images

In the tour opener against South Africa Women, Smriti Mandhana fell 16 short of reaching her century. She completed her unfinished task with ease in the second by notching up her highest ODI score against a team she has never played prior to this series at their den. India have put up a mammoth score of 302 for 3. Every batter rose to the occasion to ensure India were very much on course for a second win. Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy slammed fifties, remaining unbeaten on 55 and 51 respectively. South Africa would look to avoid another meek performance against India Women.

An innings to remember…

Put to bat, India Women were off to a flying start. Punam Raut and Smriti continued the momentum from the first ODI and raced to 50 runs within 10 overs. Coincidentally, Punam fell for a 37-ball 20 after adding 55 with Smriti, exactly the same as they had in the first ODI. Masabata Klaas disciplined bowling handed South Africa their first wicket.

The bowling was then countered by Smriti and Mithali Raj. Mithali got some timely boundaries while Smriti swiftly reached her half-century from 63 deliveries. South Africa found their rhythm back once Mithali fell for 20 to Sune Luus, but Harman and Smriti kept their cool. Harman smashed the occasional big shot while Smriti switched gear and raced to her century in just 115 deliveries.

Then she exploded, especially against Ayabonga Khaka, who conceded 28 runs in an over. In the process, Smriti became the first Indian Women to slam a century against South Africa in South Africa. She also went past her personal best of 106 that she registered against West Indies Women in 2017 World Cup.

Smriti s explosive innings came to an end with Raisibe Ntozakhe sending her back to the hut to for 135. She and Harman added 134, a record for any wicket for India against South Africa, home or away. The previous best against South Africa was 129* between Mithali and Punam.

There was no respite for the South Africa bowlers even after Smriti fell. Harman and Veda matched each other stroke for stroke. Harman got to her fifty while Veda went all guns blazing. This time Klaas faced the flack as Veda scored 15 runs from her over. She, too, got her fifty, propelling the score past 300 mark.

For South Africa, Luus, Klaas and Ntozakhe ended with a wicket apiece apiece.

Brief scores:

India Women 302 for 3 in 50 overs (Smriti Mandhana 135, Harmanpreet Kaur 55*, Veda Krishnamurthy 51*; Sune Luus 1 for 31) vs South Africa Women.