Opener Smriti Mandhana struck 135 runs to help the Indian women's cricket team hammer South Africa by 178 runs as they took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match One-day International series, part of the ICC Women's Championship, on Wednesday.
Smriti belted a 129-ball 135, laced with 14 fours and a six, while vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur (55 not out off 69 balls; 4X2, 6X1) and Veda Krishnamurthy (51 not out off 33; 4X6, 6X1) pressed the accelerator to guide the visitors to a mammoth 302/3 in the second game.
India then rode on impressive spin bowling from leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (4/24), left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2/14), off-spinner Deepti Sharma 2/34) to bowl out the hosts for 124 in 30.5 overs as India gained valuable points for the World Cup 2021 qualification. Right-handed opening batswoman Lizelle Lee waged a lonely battle for the hosts, scoring 73 off 75 deliveries. Apart from Lizelle, who notched her 13th fifty, Marizanne Kapp (17) was the only other South African who managed to reach double-digit score.
Earlier, put in to bat, the visitors got off to a flier with Smriti and Poonam Raut (20 off 37; 4X3) putting on 56 runs, before Poonam departed. Her dismissal brought in veteran skipper Mithali Raj (20 off 34; 4X1), who added 51 runs in the company of Smriti, who by then had crossed her half-century off 64 deliveries. With India in a spot of bother losing two wickets for 107, Harmanpreet joined forces with Smriti and the duo frustrated the South Africans with quality strokeplay.
Smriti, who struck a 98-ball 84 in the opening match, took her time and smartly got to the three-figure mark off 116 balls, before taking the attack to the opposition, resulting in a 134-run third wicket stand with Harmanpreet. Just when it appeared that the duo will bat the hosts out of the game, off-spinner Raisibe Ntozakhe struck with the crucial wicket of Smriti, who registered her third ODI century.
But the joy was short-lived for the Protea women with Veda going all guns blazing for her 33-ball half century, which resulted in a 61-run undefeated stand with Harmanpreet.
Brief scores: Indian women 302/3 (Smriti Mandhana 135, Harmanpreet Kaur 55 not out, Veda Krishnamurthy 51 not out) vs South Africa women: 124 all out in 30.5 overs (Lizelle Lee 73; Poonam Yadav 4/24, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2/14, Deepti Sharma 2/34
(With inputs from IANS)