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IND v SA [W] 2024, IND-W vs SA-W 3rd ODI Match Report, June 23, 2024

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

Smriti Mandhana’s masterclass and Arundhati Reddy’s sharp bowling helped India beat South Africa by six wickets in the third and final ODI and win the series 3-0 in Bengaluru.

Playing in front of 15,000 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, crowd favorite Mandhana led India in a chase of 216 but fell short of his hundred, making 90 off 83 balls. He ended the series with 343 runs after two hundreds in the first two matches. Mandhana’s total also became the highest in a women’s three-match series, surpassing Laura Wolvaardt’s 335 against Sri Lanka in April 2024.

He put on 61 runs and 62 runs with Shafali Verma (25) and Priya Punia (28), India’s new No. 3, to continue the chase. Seven of his 11 fours came offside, six of them towards the cover area. Along with Harmanpreet Kaur (42 0ff 48), he shared 48 off 47 to stifle the South African attack.

Adapting to different pitches and conditions, Mandhana showed great maturity and clarity to play long innings, not just once but thrice, in a row. However, Ayabonga Khaka’s winner at short fine leg in the 31st over saw him score. India needed 45 from the remaining 19 overs and the rest of the batsmen completed the official with 9.2 overs remaining.

The lack of a sixth bowler hurt South Africa. Marizanne Kapp played every game as a special hitter due to work management after recovering from a back injury. Their leading spin-bowler Chole Tryon had to miss the tour due to a recurring back injury.

Despite Wolvaardt admitting this earlier, South Africa has brought in someone who looks like a player to replace Masabata Klass and another right winger, Tumi Sukhukhune. Despite the brilliance of a few people, South Africa failed to break out in unison in this series.

South Africa’s innings of two halves

After coming close to India’s chase of 325 in the second ODI, the visitors got off to a good start with the batting after a quick start from Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits. They went through the first ten overs without losing a wicket, for the first time in this series, and then added 46. Wolvaardt continued his purple streak, reaching his 32nd half-century in his 98th ODI.

He got off to a quiet start, making 9 off his 15 balls and then targeted Pooja Vastrakar in the 10th over, hitting four fours at good covers and pulls. A sweep and pull of Radha Yadav’s left-arm spin fetched two more of his fours, and he hit a short and wide delivery to Smriti Mandhana to deep third.

On the other hand, the Brits started cautiously after going 18 and 5 in the first two games of the series. On Sunday, there was an intention to stay longer in his comeback series following a knee injury. Deep midwicket over six and four to fine leg and deep backward point give the impression that he has found his rhythm.

The duo brought the team past their hundred in 119 balls and look determined to keep the momentum going. But a brilliant response from Reddy dismissed Wolvaardt for 57-ball 61, ending the 102-run partnership in the 20th over.

In the next over, the Brits were dismissed for 66-ball 38 after meeting Marizanne Kapp, who rose to No. 3 after her century in the previous match.

In his five-over spell in the third over, Reddy produced another moment of brilliance, another catch in the follow-up to return Anneke Bosch. Two overs later, Shreyanka Patil, who came in for legspinner S Asha, got Kapp caught and bowled 7, rounding the wicket with the fifth ball after swinging the previous four over the wicket.

From 102 for 0, South Africa were left struggling at 120 for 4. Cameos from Nadine de Klerk and Mieke de Ridder helped them post more than 200, but India’s strong bowling did not let them into the game.

On a pitch with cracks and grass on the other, Harmanpreet opened the bowling with Patil and kept at least one spinner playing in one position almost every innings. Reddy was the best bowler of the day, finishing with 2 for 36 in ten overs spread over four spells.

Deepti Sharma, the best bowler of the day, also had her moment getting two wickets in two balls bowling de Klerk and Nonkululeko Mlaba in the 43rd over.

There was a bit of a drizzle after the first innings but, that too, it turned out to be South Africa’s batting, and it didn’t lead to the loss of overs.

Srinidhi Ramanujam is an associate editor with ESPNcricinfo

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