Mandhana's Masterclass And Reddy's Brilliance Trounce South Africa 3-0

(MENAFN- IANS) Bengaluru, June 23 (IANS) India clinched a six-wicket victory over South Africa in the third and final ODI, securing a 3-0 series sweep at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday. The triumph was highlighted by Smriti Mandhana's scintillating batting display and Arundhati Reddy's sharp bowling.

Mandhana, a crowd favourite, led India's chase of 216 with a masterful 90 off 83 balls, narrowly missing out on a century. Her performance capped off an exceptional series, where she amassed 343 runs, including two centuries in the earlier games. This tally set a new record for the most runs in a three-match women's series, surpassing Laura Wolvaardt's 335 against Sri Lanka in April 2024.

Mandhana's innings featured an array of exquisite shots, particularly on the offside, where she scored seven of her 11 boundaries. Her partnerships of 61 runs with Shafali Verma (25) and 62 runs with Priya Punia (28) laid a solid foundation for India's chase. Together with Harmanpreet Kaur (42 off 48), Mandhana added a crucial 48 runs off 47 balls, blunting the South African attack with maturity and clarity.

Despite her composed innings, Mandhana's knock ended in the 31st over with India needing 45 runs from the remaining 19 overs. A top edge off Ayabonga Khaka's delivery saw her caught at short fine leg. However, India comfortably completed the chase with 9.2 overs to spare.

Earlier, South Africa had a promising start but suffered a dramatic collapse, losing eight wickets for just 76 runs. Laura Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits provided a brisk start, adding 46 runs in the first ten overs. Wolvaardt, continuing her fine form, scored a 57-ball 61, reaching her 32nd half-century in her 98th ODI.

Wolvaardt's fluent innings featured beautiful cover drives and powerful pulls, and she seemed set for a big score. However, her dismissal in the 20th over, courtesy of an outstanding catch by Arundhati Reddy, triggered South Africa's downfall. Brits followed soon after, run out for 38 after a mix-up with Marizanne Kapp, who had been promoted to no.3 following her century in the previous game.

Reddy's brilliance continued as she took another spectacular catch off her bowling to dismiss Anneke Bosch. Shreyanka Patil, who replaced leg-spinner Asha Shobana, struck next, removing Kapp for seven with a clever change of angle. From a strong position of 102 for no loss, South Africa found themselves struggling at 120 for 4.

Despite late cameos from Nadine de Klerk and Mieke de Ridder, South Africa managed to post only 215, as India's bowlers maintained tight control. Reddy emerged as the best bowler of the day, finishing with figures of 2 for 36 in ten overs. Deepti Sharma also shone, picking up two wickets in two balls in the 43rd over.

India's spinners were effective on a pitch with contrasting surfaces-cracks on one side and grass on the other. Harmanpreet's strategy of using at least one spinner at all times paid off handsomely, especially with Patil opening the bowling and Reddy's impactful spells.

The match briefly faced a threat of interruption due to slight drizzle after the first innings, but it quickly fizzled out, much like South Africa's batting.

Brief scores: South Africa 215 for 8 in 50 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 61, Tazmin Brits 38; Arundhati Reddy 2-36, Deepti Sharma 2-27) lost to India 220 for 4 in 40.4 overs (Smriti Mandhana 90, Harmanpreet Kaur 42; Ayabonga Khaka 1-38, Tumi Sekhukhune 1-43) by six wickets.



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