Proteas bloom, then wilt against India

Proteas skipper Laura Wolvaardt won the toss and elected to bat in the third ODI against India, a decision that started off well but ended abruptly. | BackpagePix

Proteas skipper Laura Wolvaardt won the toss and elected to bat in the third ODI against India, a decision that started off well but ended abruptly. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 23, 2024



South Africa’s hunt for their first win in four ODIs was fruitless as they lost the third and final clash of their three-match series by six wickets against India at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru yesterday.

The result means that the Proteas women have failed to pick up any points towards the ICC Women’s Championship on this tour. The 50-over Women’s World Cup will be hosted by India next year.

The Proteas failed to capitalise on their positive start as a cluster of wickets halted any momentum they attempted to build. They crawled to 215/8 and watched on as player of the series Smiriti Mandhana (90 off 83 balls, 4x11) piled on the runs as she fell just short of another century.

Laura Wolvaardt’s decision to bat first after winning the toss initially seemed a good call. South Africa reached their first opening century stand of the series, and seemed to be well on their way to a massive score, with both Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits complementing each other well.

Wolvaardt (65 off 57 balls) was fluent in her stroke play and took on the bowling, smashing her 32nd career half century, and sixth against India. Her innings included seven boundaries, allowing Brits (38 off 66 balls) to play the anchor role.

Patience, control and execution was the order of the day, and cruising at 102, the Proteas were squeezing the life out of the Indian bowling attack.

Needing a breakthrough, Harmanpreet Kaur threw the ball to Arundhati Reddy. The 26-year-old took a return catch and dismissed the South African captain, giving India the timely breakthrough one ball short of the 20th over.

The fall of Wolvaardt’s wicket turned the match on its head. Marizanne Kapp was promoted to third, and needing to recover after the loss of their skipper, Brits and Kapp were involved in a miscommunication that led to an ill-timed run out, leaving South Africa two down.

Kapp (seven), Anneke Bosch (five) and Sune Luus (13) didn't last long in a spell of bowling that saw the visitors lose five wickets, having added only 41 runs in 11.5 overs. Nadine de Klerk (26) and Nondumiso Shangase (16) combined for a fighting 32 off 50 balls with Mieke de Ridder 26 off 31 balls seeing South Africa through to a defendable total.

Chasing 216 to win the opening pair of Shafali Verma (25) and Mandhana safely negotiated safely through the first power play.

Verma was playing second fiddle to Mandhana, and in her attempt to up her strike rate, she was caught at backward point by Bosch off the bowling of Tumi Sekhukhune, breaking a 61-run opening partnership.

Nonkululeko Mlaba (1/55) saw the back of the Indian women run machine 10 runs short of what would have been her third straight century in this series. The 27 year old has scored 343 runs in three matches and led India to their win with 9.2 overs to spare.

Ayabonga Khaka (1/38) and Sekhukhune (1/43) had decent outings but they didn’t have enough runs on the board to defend.