Smriti Mandhana’s masterclass leads India to series whitewash

By BD Narayankar

Bengaluru, June 23 (UNI) In a display of skill and determination, India swept aside South Africa with a commanding six-wicket victory in the third women’s ODI at M Chinnaswamy Stadium today. This win secured a clean sweep in the series, marking their dominance with a third consecutive triumph over their rivals.

The match was a spectacle defined by standout performances, with Smriti Mandhana leading the charge with a sublime 90 runs off just 83 deliveries. Mandhana’s elegant stroke play, adorned with 11 boundaries, illuminated the innings and nearly marked her third successive century in the series.

South Africa’s decision to bat first paid dividends to the hosts as Deepti Sharma’s wizardry with the ball restricted them to 215 runs for the loss of eight wickets in their 50 overs. Deepti’s figures of 2 for 27 underscored her precision and strategic acumen on a pitch favoring spinners.

Despite early setbacks, including the loss of opener Shafali Verma, Mandhana found reliable partners in Priya Punia and later Harmanpreet Kaur, who contributed 42 crucial runs. Their efforts guided India to victory with 9.2 overs to spare, showcasing India’s depth and resilience in chasing down totals.

South Africa’s Laura Wolvaardt’s composed 61 and a resilient lower-order effort weren’t enough to thwart India’s clinical approach. The match also featured stellar fielding moments, including a decisive run-out by Tazmin Brits, highlighting South Africa’s spirited performance amidst mounting pressure.

As India celebrates this comprehensive triumph, they look ahead, buoyed by Mandhana and Deepti’s stellar contributions, cementing their status as formidable contenders on the international stage.

Brief scores: South Africa: 215/8 in 50 overs; Laura Wolvaardt 61, Mieke de Ridder 26*, Deepti Sharma 2/27. India: 219/4 in 40.4 overs; Smriti Mandhana 90, Harmanpreet Kaur 42, Tumi Sekhukhune 1/43, Ayabonga Khaka 1/38. Result: India won by 6 wickets.

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