Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Deepti Sharma star as India complete whitewash

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India Women 146 (Harmanpreet 38, Pandey 35, Kapp 3-20, Ismail 2-18, Khaka 2-33) beat South Africa Women 140 (Kapp 29, Bisht 3-32, Gayakwad 2-22, Sharma 2-24) by six runs

Marizanne Kapp’s three-wicket haul and 29 with the bat went in vain as India Women’s spinners were far too good for the South Africa Women batters, giving the home side a six-run win in the third and final ODI and complete a whitewash.

Batting first, India had slipped to 71 for 6 against the South Africa seamers – Kapp, Shabnim Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka. However, a 49-run stand between Harmanpreet Kaur and Shikha Pandey for the seventh wicket gave to drag India to 146.

Ekta Bisht then picked up 3 for 32, and Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad chipped in with two wickets each, as South Africa were bundled out for 140.

South Africa had started their chase positively, and despite losing Lizelle Lee and Trisha Chetty cheaply, they were 50 for 2 in the 13th over. However, India’s spinners struck back after that. Sharma dismissed Mignon du Preez before Gayakwad removed the set Laura Wolvaardt, who might have felt a bit hard done by, as the lbw appeal was upheld despite a bit of confusion as to whether the ball had hit pad first or bat.

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Captain Sune Luus and Kapp revived the chase from 63 for 5 and took the side to 103 before Bisht dismissed the former for 24. When Sharma trapped Kapp lbw, India looked favourites as South Africa still needed 28 runs with three wickets in hand.

Ismail and Nondumiso Shangase took them closer but with ten runs to win, Bisht dismissed Shangase. In the next over, Ismail tried to slog Harmanpreet only to find Punam Raut at deep midwicket. Despite Pandey and Mansi Joshi still having their overs left, Mithali Raj threw the ball to Jemimah Rodrigues, who got Tumi Sekhukhune caught at first slip to wrap up the game.

Earlier, India didn’t have a great start after opting to bat as Ismail bounced out Priya Punia for a duck with the fourth ball of the day. Rodrigues fell in the next over, edging Kapp to Lee in gully while trying to flick.

Raut and Raj resisted but couldn’t get the scoreboard moving. In an attempt to break the shackles, Raut swung wildly against Khaka only to be bowled for 15. Raj too tried to chip Kapp down the ground but mistimed and was caught at mid-off. And when Taniya Bhatia was bowled by Luus, India were reeling at 71 for 6.

However, Harmanpreet and Pandey stuck together and took the side past 100 in the 36th over. Harmanpreet hit five fours in her 38 off 76, while Pandey was more adventurous, collecting six fours in her 40-ball 35. The stand was broken by Kapp, who bowled Harmanpreet for her third wicket when the total was 120. But the last three wickets added 26 runs and that proved to be the difference in the end.