Colombo, Feb 15: India defeated South Africa by 49 runs in a Super Six game of the Womens Cricket World Cup Qualifier against South Africa at the P. Sara Oval here on Wednesday.
A 96-run second-wicket partnership between Mo Meshram (55) and Mithali Raj (64) helped India register 205 in 50 overs. In reply, South Africa were bowled out for 156 in 46.4 overs, paving the way for India’s victory that puts them on the verge of qualification to the World Cup in England in June.
South Africa, opted to bowl and their pace trio of Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp and Ayabonga Khaka kept a tight line and length. Khaka removed opner Deepti Sharma (9).
Then, captain Mithali joined Meshram, who opened as M.D. Thirushkamini was unwell, in the middle and they tried to build a partnership.
Meshram first showcased her aggressive intent in the 22nd over, when she stepped out to Yolani Fourie, the offspinner, and struck a big six over midwicket.
Having made just 14 runs in the first ten overs, India put on 98 runs in the next 20 as the innings got some much-needed momentum.
Both of them went on to post fifties. The partnership was broken when Meshram stepped out to hit leg-spinner Dane van Niekerk and was bowled.
Harmanpreet Kaur then fell in the first over of the batting Power Play when she played on to a sharp incoming delivery from Kapp.
Mithali, who became only the second batswoman after Charlotte Edwards to complete 5,000 runs in ODI cricket during the innings, hit Ismail for two straight fours in the 37th over. But she was soon caught at point as India made only 17 for 2 in that block of five overs.
When Veda Krishmurthy fell against the run of play for 18, India were reduced to 164 for 5 in 43.1 overs, and in need of some inspiration.
Devika Vaidya (19) and Shikha Pandey (21) provided the late flourish for the Indians to take the score past 200.
During the South African chase, Ekta and Shikha struck early to reduce them to 8 for 2 in 4.2. It fell upon the experienced pair of Mignon du Preez (15) and Trisha Chetty (52) to take the team ahead.
Even as it added 33 runs, and Chetty then put on 52 runs for the fourth wicket with Kapp (29), South Africa always needed a blistering performance from somewhere. Spinner Poom Yadav ended Kapp’s stay to leave South Africa wobbling at 93/4 in 30.1 overs.
Deepti then removed Chetty to make life difficult for the South Africans. Chloe Tryon then fell to Shikha and afterwards Bisht dismissed van Niekerk (20) and Shabnim Ismail (12) to leave south Africa at 150 for eight in the 44th over.
Shikha, who bowled with good pace and stuck to the right line and length, wrapped up the rest two wickets as India recorded their 10th straight win in ODIs, stretching back to February 2016.
India take on Bangladesh in their next game at the Nondescripts Cricket Club, while South Africa play Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval. Both the games are on February 17. (IANS)