Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 17 (ANI): With the other batters failing to come to the party, Mithali Raj played a captain's knock to guide India Women to a total respectable 188 in the fifth ODI against South Africa here on Wednesday.
Raj played an unbeaten knock of 79 runs to help her side put a decent total on the board as the likes of Smriti Mandhana and in-form Punam Raut failed to shine. After being asked to bat first, India got off to a positive start, with openers Smriti and Priya Punia looking to score regular boundaries. But just when the two looked good to carry on, Marizanne Kapp sent back Priya for 18.
Punam (10) then came out to bat but failed to leave a mark as she was dismissed by Nondumiso Shangase in the 12th over. In the next over, Smriti (18) too was sent back to the pavilion which reduced India to 53/3.
All eye were now on Harmanpreet Kaur and skipper Mithali as the senior-most players in the batting line-up. The duo did revive the hosts' innings and took the team to the 100-run mark in the 27th over. But once again India suffered an untimely blow when Harmanpreet (30) retired hurt.
It was indeed a big blow considering the fact that the deputy was looking good to make it count. Mithali though continued to fight a lone battle and completed her half-century. However, the skipper did not find support from the other end as Sushma Verma (0) also failed to rise to the challenge.
The fall of wickets continued and India was all out in the final over of the innings for 188. Mithali remained unbeaten on 79 as Nadine de Klerk finished with three wickets while Tumi Sekhukhune and Nondumiso Shangase picked two wickets apiece.
Brief Scores: India Women 188 (Mithali Raj 79*; Nadine de Klerk 3-35) vs South Africa Women (ANI)