Mandhana and Arundhati Lead India to 3-0 Sweep Victory Over South Africa

India’s women’s cricket team defeated South Africa 3-0 in the series, largely due to the outstanding efforts of Smriti Mandhana and Arundhati Reddy.

South Africa was defeated by India by six wickets in the third and final One-Day International at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Highlights of the match included Arundhati Reddy’s accurate bowling and Smriti Mandhana’s outstanding batting.

Mandhana and Arundhati Lead India to 3-0 Sweep Victory Over South Africa
Jemimah Rodrigues snaps a selfie of the Indian team that won the series. Photo Credit: BCCI

South Africa 215 for 8 (Wolvaardt 61, Reddy 2-36, Deepti 2-27) was defeated by India 220 for 4 (Mandhana 90, Harmanpreet 42) by six wickets.

In front of 15,000 spectators at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, audience favorite Mandhana guided India through a modest 216-run chase, but he was just short of a century with 90 off 83 balls. After scoring two hundreds in the first two games of the series, she finished with 343 runs. Mandhana’s score against Sri Lanka in April 2024 was higher than Laura Wolvaardt’s 335, and it was also the highest in a three-match women’s series.

To get the chase underway, she put on 61-run and 62-run stands with India’s new no. 3 Shafali Verma (25) and Priya Punia (28). Six of her eleven fours were in the direction of the cover region, and seven of her eleven came on the offside. She shared 48 off 47 with Harmanpreet Kaur (42 0ff 48) to counter the South African attack.

Adapting to varied pitches and situations, Mandhana has showed incredible maturity and clarity to play big innings, not just once but three, in a row. However, a top edge to Ayabonga Khaka at short fine leg on the 31st over terminated her knock. At that point, India needed 45 from the final 19 overs, and with 9.2 overs remaining, the remaining batters finished the formalities.

South Africa was harmed by the absence of a sixth bowling option. After recuperating from her back injury, Marizanne Kapp played every game as a specialist hitter due to workload management. Due to a recurrent back injury, their top spin-bowling all-around player, Chole Tryon, was forced to miss the tour.

Even though Wolvaardt had previously acknowledged this, South Africa entered the game with Tumi Sukhukhune, another right-arm, as a like-for-like replacement for Masabata Klass. Despite a few flashes of individual genius, South Africa had not performed well collectively during the series.

In the second ODI, the visitors nearly chased India’s 325 runs, but their batting performance was lackluster following Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits’ quick start. For the first time in this series, they completed the first ten overs without losing a wicket, and they added 46. In her 98th ODI, Wolvaardt achieved her 32nd half-century, extending her purple patch.

She got off to a calm start, hitting nine runs off of fifteen balls. In the tenth over, she went after Pooja Vastrakar, smashing four fours with exquisite cover drives and pulls. She got two more fours from a sweep and a draw off Radha Yadav’s left-arm spin, and she also tapped a short, wide delivery off Smriti Mandhana to deep third.

In contrast, the British made a cautious start to the series after being out for 18 and 5 in the opening two games. After suffering a knee injury, she intended to continue in her comeback series on Sunday. Her return to rhythm was evident with a six over deep midwicket and fours to fine leg and deep backward point.

In 119 balls, the pair helped the team reach the hundred mark and appeared determined to maintain the momentum. However, Wolvaardt was dismissed by Reddy with an amazing reflex catch for 57 balls, breaking the 102-run partnership in the 20th over.

After a mix-up with Marizanne Kapp, who was moved to the no. 3 spot following her century in the previous game, the British were run out for 66 balls and 38 runs in the next over.

Also Read: Mandhana and Harmanpreet Lead India to Victory Over South Africa in Thrilling 646-Run Encounter

Mandhana and Arundhati Lead India to 3-0 Sweep Victory Over South Africa
Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur were cruising in style. Photo Credit: BCCI

In her five-over third period, Reddy delivered another moment of brilliance, another catch in the follow-through to send Anneke Bosch back. Two overs later, Shreyanka Patil, who had came in for legspinner S Asha, dismissed Kapp caught and bowled for 7, by coming around the wicket for the fifth ball after bowling the previous four from over the wicket.

South Africa was left reeling at 120 for 4, having started at 102 for 0. Although they scored over 200 thanks to cameos from Nadine de Klerk and Mieke de Ridder, India’s tight bowling prevented them from ever getting close to the game.

Harmanpreet bowled first with Patil on a surface that had cracks on one half and grass on the other. Almost the entire innings, at least one spinner was kept in play. Reddy finished with statistics of 2 for 36 in ten overs over four periods, making him the day’s top bowler.

The most economical bowler of the day, Deepti Sharma, too had her moment, dismissing de Klerk and Nonkululeko Mlaba in the 43rd over with two wickets in two balls.

After the first innings, there was a light drizzle, but it ended similarly to South Africa‘s batting and did not cause any overs to be lost.

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