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1st ODI: SA cruise to eight-wicket win over India

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Lucknow, March 7 (IANS) Openers Laura Wolvaardt and and Lizelle Lee led South Africa to a eight-wicket win over India after spinner Shabnim Ismail’s 3/28 restricted the hosts to 177/9 in the first ODI at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium on Sunday. South Africa have thus taken a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Veteran fast bowler Jhulan Goswami was the lone wicket-taker for India, dismissing Wolvaardt for 80 and thus ending South Africa’s opening partnership on 169. Jhulan then got the wicket of South Africa captain Sune Luus after which a wide delivery from Harmanpreet Kaur gave the visitors the winning run.

Earlier, captain Mithali Raj’s 54th ODI half century was followed by a late collapse which led to India being restricted to a low total. This is India’s first international match since the final of the T20I World Cup in Melbourne, Australia on March 8, 2020. It is also the first time that India are playing an ODI match since November 6, 2019 when they faced West Indies in North Sound, Antigua.

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Earlier, Mithali and Harmanpreet put up a 62-run partnership for the fourth wicket that took India past the 100-run mark. Harmanpreet, who is playing her 100th ODI, was especially aggressive, hitting six fours in her 40-run knock. However, she was denied a 12th ODI half-century when she mistimed a lofted shot off South Africa captain Sune Luus and holed out at long off.

Deepti Sharma then stood strong with Mithali and the pair put up 52 runs for the fifth wicket. Mithali was dismissed on 50 in the 38th over after which India lost their last four wickets for 21 runs.

Brief scores: India 177/9 in 50 overs (Mithali Raj 50, Harmanpreet Kaur 30; Shabnim Ismail 3/28) lost to South Africa 178/2 in 40.1 overs (Lizelle Lee 83 not out, Laura Wolvaardt 80, Jhulan Goswami 2/38) by nine wickets with 59 balls remaining.

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–IANS

rkm/pgh

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