Mandhana, Harmanpreet star in India’s nail-biting win

India posted a nail-biting win in Bengaluru. PC – BCCI

Hundreds from Marizanne Kapp and Laura Wolvaardt went in vain as South Africa slipped to a gut-wrenching four-run loss to India in the second ODI in Bengaluru. The visitors finished with 321 for 6 in a chase of 326. For the home side, Smriti Mandhana cracked her second hundred in a row.

When Pooja Vastrakar was given the responsibility to bowl the last over, it seemed as if South Africa would post a famous, come-from-behind win. Nadine de Klerk even eked out a boundary off the second ball of that over. Unfortunately for the tourists, they lost the plot at the crucial juncture, adding just a bye to the total off the last four deliveries. Wolvaardt was distraught when she couldn’t connect the slower one off the final delivery bowled by Pooja. 

At the completion of the 15th over, it didn’t seem that way, as India had all the aces. Mandhana, who can do no wrong at the moment, prised out Sune Luus to leave South Africa precariously placed at 67 for 3. Kapp and Wolvaardt, however, brought South Africa right back in the game with a partnership of 184 for the fourth wicket. The highlight of the stand was the way the duo upped the ante after the 35th over, adding 143 in the last 15. 

Arundhati Reddy went for 62 in 8 overs and was smashed for three fours in a single over. Meanwhile, Pooja gave away 54 in 7. The latter, though, had the last laugh as she provided the finishing touches with a brilliant over.

Earlier, Mandhana led the way for the hosts with a 120-ball 136 and also strung together a partnership of 171 with Harmanpreet Kaur to put India in a strong position. Harmanpreet, the India captain, also composed a century, eventually falling for an 88-ball 103. Mandhana employed her trademark shots – the pull and lofts – while Kaur found the right gears in the end overs. The Indian women’s team captain gave a fine exhibition of using the crease during the course of her innings. Richa Ghosh, lower down the order, also made an impact with an unbeaten 25 off just 13 deliveries. 

India, who have taken a 2-0 lead in the series, will play the third ODI at the same ground on June 23.