After being put to bat, India made a real mess of their start, losing wickets before veterans Harmanpreet Kaur and Mithali Raj bailed them out but they folded for just 177. However, South Africa showed exactly how to bat in these conditions, with an immaculate run-chase from their openers.
Jemimah Rodrigues (4/10): Always a struggle against the moving ball, Jemimah Rodrigues had a real tough time in the early part of the day against the South African bowling attack. While she endured some tough yards against Shabnim Ismail, the opener was undone by the pace and movement from Marizanne Kapp, who got the opener to drive, ending her stay at the crease with the bat. In the field, barring the odd delivery, her presence wasn't felt too much.
Smriti Mandhana (6/10): Yet another good start from Smriti Mandhana, she really punched a pack early on in the innings, with her trademark crash on the off-side and the flicks on her leg-side. While she got the side off to a racing start, she failed yet again to convert a start into a total in the 50-over format, with a loose shot to get herself back to the pavilion, having scored 14 runs off her 20 deliveries. Another shining light before lights out moment for Indian cricket, a bizarre bit of dismissal.
Punam Raut (5/10): In her usual position, at No.3, Punam Raut started the innings off in the most Punam-style possible, playing out the deliveries and getting herself acclimatised to the conditions. However, once she got in, with a boundary, she got herself out in the very same over to put a lot of pressure on Harmanpreet Kaur and Mithali Raj, two of India’s stable lionesses in the 50-over den.
Mithali Raj (7.5/10): Typically, Mithali Raj led the side from the front with her well-timed batting display, where she wasn’t taking the unnecessary risk. Not just that, her running in between the wickets was exquisite, her cover-drives were crisp and more importantly, the brain was constantly working, which has made her one of India’s mainstays in the past. 50 off 85 deliveries, the Indian skipper was at her usual self but the fact that no one around her upped the ante, India ended up with a below-par total.
Harmanpreet Kaur (7/10): Looked easily India’s best batter during the innings, with her swashbuckling ability to take on the South African bowlers, who looked clueless against her. While she wasn’t running hard between the wickets, she was hell-bent on being proactive in her approach against the visiting bowlers. 40 runs off 41 deliveries, but in an ODI, it is criminal to throw away the wicket after getting off to that kind of start, especially for a batter, who is playing her 100th ODI today.
Deepti Sharma (4/10): Deepti Sharma from time to time has shown that she’s capable of this world-beater knock but today, in Lucknow, she was far away from it. She got runs, 27 of them but it wasn’t quite at a pace at which she usually bats, nor did she take it forward to a big innings. Just after Mithali Raj’s dismissal, in an attempt to up the ante, she took the wrong route with a failed sweep shot, where she ended up exposing her stumps. With the ball, she did bowl well initially but in her second spell, she was absolutely destroyed by Liz Lee, who tormented her with twin boundaries - one four and a massive six.
Sushma Verma (3/10): Having faced 12 deliveries, Sushma Verma, who has been brought into the squad instead of the regular wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia, the right-handed batter played the worst shot on the night. Beaten by the turn, she tamely got one to the fielder’s laps, scoring just one, exposing the long tail that India had in the bank. With the gloves, she was decent but nothing extravagant to suggest she was better than Taniya Bhatia.
Jhulan Goswami (5/10): As a leader of the pack, Jhulan Goswami did her all, put in the hard yards early on in the innings, where she constantly beat past the South African batsmen. However, come to her third and fourth over of the spell, she started losing steam, ended up conceding 16 runs in her first four overs, without any wicket, something that ultimately haunted India’s reply. When she came on in her second spell, the game was already done and dusted, before she scalped two late wickets in the innings.
Monica Patel (5/10): Looked sharp in her very first over, Monica Patel showed something that Indian women’s cricket has lacked - left-arm pacer. As it came to her third over, she showed signs of maturity, with an excellent maiden over. Overall, a great first spell on debut from Monica Patel, who looks promising for the future, as a left-arm option for the women’s cricket team. When she came back, Liz Lee really made the fullest use of her over, with some power-hitting.
Poonam Yadav (3/10): The loopy leg-breaks came and so did runs alongside that, Poonam Yadav tried her best but it wasn’t quite accurate to trouble the South African batters, who clearly were at their aggressive best against the Indian spin attack. At no point did the visitors have trouble against her, which shows that India’s bowling attack looked weak and impotent on the day.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad (6/10): Last on the list but certainly one of the better performers with the ball, Rajeshwari Gayakwad did trouble the South African batsman but not enough to pick their wicket. In the first four overs, she conceded just nine runs. In her second spell, however, she was met by a damning Wolvaardt, who only cared about finishing the game. In all, a disappointing end to another spell for an Indian bowler after bowling well early on.