Lizelle Lee’s 73 was a symbolic display of defiance as the Proteas Women collapsed to a 178-run defeat to India in the second ODI in Kimberley.
And with that, India claimed the three-match series, having beaten the Proteas by 88 runs in the first encounter. On that occasion, it was medium pace that ripped through the batting line-up; this time it was a variety of spin that wrapped them up, rolled them over and choked them.
It seemed almost perverse that Lee would be able to battle on to 73 off 75 balls, with seven fours and three sixes. Only Marizanne Kapp, at No 8, could reach double figures; her 17 coming off 28 balls.
Poonam Yadav’s legbreak googlies were the main weapon, taking four for 24 off 7.5 overs, while the left-arm spin of Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Deepti’s Sharma’s offbreak shared another four.
The team which had returned so buoyantly from an excellent showing in the Women’s World Cup in England (where they beat India), were presented with an overwhelming target of 303 to win, based on 135 from Smriti Mandhana. Their 300-plus chase against England in the global event became a distant memory when they were bowled out for 124 in the 31st over.
The decision to bowl first was slightly strange, given that their main strike bowler, Shabnim Ismail, was withdrawn after injuring her foot in the warm-up before the match. Rookie Raisibe Ntozakhe, an off-break bowler, was drafted in, as was Andrie Steyn, while Mignon du Preez was omitted.
The Indian women were never pressed, putting on 56 in 12 overs for the first wicket, when Punam Raut was caught behind off Marie Klaas. Mithali Raj, the captain, fell caught and bowled to Sune Luus, when the score was 120, but for all the efforts of Dane van Niekerk (who ended with an economy rate of 3,8) and Kapp (4.2), there were too many loose overs to rein in the visitors. And they gave away 20 wides and no-balls.
Mandhana emphasised the Indians’ dominance by smashing 27 runs off one Ayabonga Khaka over as she raced to her highest ODI score, 135 off 129 balls, with 14 fours and a six, immediately before being caught behind off Ntozakhe’s spin. They had added 134 in 20 overs.
Harmanpreet Kaur ended the innings on 55 off 69, while Veda Krishnamurthy took the target beyond reach with 51 off 33. Ninety runs were added in the last eight overs.
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images