Indian women's skipper Mithali Raj has applauded the new ball bowling pair of Mansi Joshi and Jhulan Goswami for starting off well for the hosts in Lucknow in the second ODI of the series. She also added that Harmanpreet Kaur took a very crucial wicket of Lara Goodall to peg South Africa back.
After getting hammered in the first ODI, the Indian women's side returned the favour to the visitors in the second game as they defeated them by nine wickets in Lucknow. Indian pacers Mansi Joshi and Jhulan Goswami made full use of the conditions on offer that provided a hint of movement as Mansi took the ball away while Goswami bowled in-dippers. They reduced the South African side to 20 for 2 with the openers, who made fifties each in the last game, back in the hut inside the first six overs to break the backbone of the Proteas.
Eventually, India bundled out the tourists for 157 and made light work of the chase. The winning skipper Mithali felt that winning the toss was crucial and also praised her opening bowlers. She also lauded Harmanpreet Kaur for dismissing South Africa's top-scorer Lara Goodall on 49.
"I think it started from winning the toss, that's where things went right. As I mentioned during the toss, the first few overs will benefit the fast bowlers. Credit to Mansi [Joshi] who bowled well with Jhulan [Goswami] and bowled well. There was a good start. The spinners took their time, and Harman's wicket of the left-hander [Lara Goodall] was an important one. Our fielding was also good," Mithali said in the post-match presentation, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
She also revealed that the team had assessed the wrongs from the last time and simply tried to rectify that, which they did. The prolific Indian batter termed her bowling changes instinctive, which worked well for India.
"We sat down and analysed what was needed. The first game was the first after a long time. The bowling catch has emphasized to the spinners about what lines to bowl. The wicket was quite good. I would say both but the involvement was from everybody. Today I had feedback from all over the ground, and that helps the team as a unit when we are on the field."
One of the main architects of the win was Jhulan Goswami, who took four wickets and set the tone for the match with a wicket in the first over. She kept on taking wickets at regular intervals and was also named Player of the Match for her efforts. The Indian veteran felt that it was a tough challenge against South Africa today but just tried to hit the right areas.
"It was pretty challenging because I was coming back after a year, and playing a competitive side like South Africa. I was just trying to hit the ball on the right areas. I always share my mantra with all my teammates. Monica the other day and Mansi today bowled very well. [On what she's been working on] The World Cup is going to happen next year. It's important for me to be fit and to play maximum number of matches. The NCA support staff has helped me a lot," Goswami said.
She could have finished with a fifer if not for a no-ball and added that she would ensure that something like that never happens again.
"It was because I bowled a no-ball. I have to work on that and ensure that doesn't happen to me in future."