Kimberley: Dominant in the series-opener, the Indian women's cricket team would now look to seal the issue when it takes on South Africa in the second ODI of the three- match series, here tomorrow. Seven months after a stupendous show in the World Cup, the Indian women's team shook off rustiness with ease with a crushing 88-run win over South Africa in the series-opener here on Monday.
The three-match series, also a first-round fixture of the ICC Women's Championship, gives both the teams a chance to directly qualify for the 2021 ICC Women's World Cup. After a runner-up finish in the World Cup, Mithali Raj and her team did not play any international games -- thanks to lackadaisical planning on the part of the BCCI.
And the ongoing three-match series against South Africa was considered a big challenge for the Indians to get back into the groove. But in the first ODI, the Indian women never looked short of match practice as they shone bright in all departments to comfortably outclass the home team.
Electing to bat, the Indian women rode on left-handed batswoman Smriti Mandhana's (84 off 98) half-century and skipper Mithali Raj's 45 to post 213 for seven before the pace duo of Jhulan Goswami (4/24) and Shikha Pandey (3/23) shared seven wickets between them to bundle out South Africa for 125. Leg-break bowler Poonam Yadav too excelled with the ball registering figures of 2 for 22 from her nine overs. All in all, it was a complete performance from the Indians in the opener and come tomorrow, Mithali and her team would be eying an encore, which will hand them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. If South Africa wish to take the series into the decider their batting will have to complement the bowlers to stand in with a chance to unsettle the Indians.