South Africa revealed the depth of its resources as it beat India by five wickets in the fifth one-dayer, to wrap up the series 4-1, at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium on Wednesday.
Assistance for spinners
On a pitch, different from the ones used in the previous matches, there was some support for the Indian spinners in the second innings after the host had lost its fourth toss.
Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad troubled the Proteas with three for 13 from 10 overs, but the visitors recovered from being down 27 for three to script a memorable victory.
With the high-scoring Lizelle Lee, the ‘Player of the Series’, not playing and South Africa struggling after losing early wickets, there was scope for an intense fight. However, it was not to be. Mignon du Preez and ‘Player of the Match’ Anneke Bosch turned the tide in South Africa’s favour with half centuries and a 96-run partnership, before two smart catches by skipper Mithali Raj revived the hopes in the Indian camp.
Taking the team home
The aspirations of the home team were dashed as Marizanne Kapp and Nadine de Klerk saw South Africa through with an unbroken 58-run alliance.
Earlier, India was in deep trouble at 53 for three, before Mithali came up with another rescue act, remaining unbeaten on 79 off 104 balls with eight fours and a straight-driven six.
The Indian team suffered both in batting and bowling as Harmanpreet Kaur retired after an uncharacteristically slow knock of 30 off 55 balls.
Harmanpreet’s absence was acutely felt as India did not have a capable fifth bowler to capitalise on the favourable situation, while defending a modest total of 188.
Quite remarkably, South Africa was able to find the players to bolster the team at every turn.