After getting thrashed by the South Africa women team in the ODI series opener, India avenged the loss after heroics from arguably their biggest match-winners - Jhulan Goswami and Smriti Mandhana. Goswami's four-fer ensured that South Africa got bundled-out cheaply, and the batters did the rest.
Jemimah Rodrigues (3/10): In a game that India got off to a decent start with the bat, and were chasing merely 158, the right-hander again failed. Pretty much like the last game, the moving ball had almost accounted for her wicket off the first delivery she faced but somehow, she survived. After that though, there was one superb on-drive off Shabnim Ismail, who had giver her a tough time last time. And she was the one, who ultimately got rid of Jemimah as the Indian opener got into a tangle and edged the short-ball to her leg-stump, getting out against the run of play.
Smriti Mandhana (9/10): 6, 6, boom, that's how swashbuckling Indian opener Smriti Mandhana started off the proceedings against one of the world's fastest bowlers Ismail, who bowls sharp bouncers. And when she's batting, even the balls that don't pierce the gap, are a work of art, be it the straight or the cover drives as such is the elegance and flow with which she strokes the ball. The two boundaries that she hit over the mid-off fielder in the 11th and 12th over respectively proved the freak that she is given the effortlessness in the shot. Unlike the last game, she made a brilliant fifty and helped India cross the line without breaking a sweat.
Punam Raut (8/10): The Indian no.3 was slightly troubled early on as the pacers mixed their lengths well against her. But, she was hardly fussed and for someone who's known for biding time, it was like a regular drill for her. In the first 31 balls she faced, she made seven without any boundary. But then, she used her feet well and collected two aerial boundaries in Nonkululeko Mlaba's over to get going. She formed a match-winning partnership with the Indian opener to chase down the meagre target.
Mithali Raj (8/10): Generally, the kingpin of India's women's batting, Mithali Raj didn't need to do much with the bat given the outstanding bowling effort from the bowlers. But she did most of the things right in her captaincy, which is why she earns an eight. It was surprising though that the Indian skipper gave just four overs to Joshi in her first spell when she was making full use of the conditions and brought on spinners from both ends from the 10th over onwards, which gave breathing space to South Africa. However, shortly after, she was back to her best bringing Mansi in the 19th over with the bowler striking in second over of her comeback spell, breaking the partnership. Then she also used Goswami and Gayakwad perfectly and they kept on chipping in with wickets, helping India to restrict South Africa to 157.
Harmanpreet Kaur (7/10): The Indian vice-captain had an impact with the first ball that she bowled today, getting the crucial wicket of Proteas top-scorer Lara Goodall. That was the final nail in the coffin and there was no coming back for the tourists in the game. With the bat, there was hardly much to do for her.
Sushma Verma (8/10): The Indian wicketkeeper had a very decent game behind the stumps as she took the important catches of Wolvaardt and Luus. However, there was one error as well, when she failed to stump Ayabonga Khaka in the 39th over on the bowling of Gayakwad, a ball that beat both the batter and keeper. But it didn't cost India much, fortunately for her and the side.
Deepti Sharma (6/10): Deepti, who was introduced in the 10th over, proved hard for the tourists to play the cross-batted sweep, the bread and butter shot for the Proteas women, owing to her slow pace. She bowled accurately in her first spell and made sure that Luus and Goodall didn't get away with the game. She also took an exceptional catch of Du Preez at the cover to send her back and had a decent outing.
Jhulan Goswami (9.5/10): Jhulan Goswami was all class today as she hit the nail on the head right from the first over. Very well knowing that South African openers enjoy playing square of the wicket, she executed the wicket-to-wicket line and threatened the stumps and got rewarded in the first over trapping Lizelle Lee. If her first spell set the tone, the second one completely derailed the Proteas as she kept taking wickets at regular intervals with her experience, variations, and top-notch skills to end with figures of 4/42 despite one dropped catch, a wicket on a no-ball and conceding as many as six wides and two no-balls.
Mansi Joshi (9/10): A smooth action, a rhythmic run-up, Mansi Joshi who missed out the first game complimented Goswami well, and generated more movement than even her senior counterpart. She kept on bowling the tempting out-swingers and got the big scalp of Laura Wolvaardt as she felt into the trap, playing away from the body, tentatively against the moving ball. Not only that, she broke a promising third-wicket 60-run-stand between Sune Luus and Lara Goodall that was making light work of the opening spell as the former nicked to the keeper of a ball that had a hint of away movement, trademark Mansi.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad (8/10): After the initial burst from the pacers, South African didn't have much issues against the Indian spinners on a wicket that wasn't doing much for them. Rajeshwari Gayakwad didn't pose much of a threat in her first spell where she gave away 18 runs in four overs and couldn't cash in on the great start. But after Joshi removed Sune Luus, Gayakwad made a strong return in her second spell as she baited the dangerous Mignon du Preez, known for her hitting prowess, with her flight. She kept on the pressure and took three wickets in the innings to compliment the pacers.
Poonam Yadav (5/10): Pretty much like the last game, the leg-spinner and one of the stars of the last year's T20 World Cup, didn't have a great outing. She started off poorly giving away 10 runs as she erred in line. In the first two overs, South African women played her with fair ease employing the sweep shot to perfection. She did bowl tightly after the breakthrough by Joshi but then couldn't take wickets like Gayakwad. She was only one of the two bowlers to go wicketless as India's best spinner looked a fair bit distant from her best at the moment.