India women were playing a game after nearly a year and their rustiness was clearly visible as they hardly showed any fight and bowed down to South Africa in a demoralizing 8 wicket loss in the 1st ODI at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
Opting to bowl, South African bowlers were right on the money and restricted India women to 177-9 in 50 overs. India got off to the worst possible start, losing Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut with just 40 runs on the board. The most experienced Indian batsmen, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur started resurrecting the Indian innings, mixing caution with control aggression. Both batted brilliantly and took India past the 100 run mark.
Post-Harmanpreet’s dismissal for 40, Deepti Sharma and Mithali Raj stitched a 52 run partnership for the 5th wicket but once Mithali was dismissed for a well made 50, Indian batting fell like a pack of cards. They could only manage 23 runs in their last 12 overs and lost 4 wickets. Shabnim Ismail was the pick of the bowlers and returned with figures of 3-28 in 10 overs.
South Africa was not chasing a huge total and they crucised to victory on the back of half-centuries from Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaatdt. The duo stitched a 169 run partnership for the first wicket, ending any hopes of an Indian comeback. The next match of the series will be played on 9th March at the same venue.