The Proteas women collapsed in the face of well controlled Indian pace to lose the first ODI by 88 runs.
Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey, both right-arm medium pacers, took seven wickets between them as the Proteas struggled to 125 in 43 overs, chasing 214 to win in Kimberley.
It was the first of three ODIs which begin the qualification series for the 2021 women’ World Cup in New Zealand.
The Proteas women must have fancied their chances after holding the Indian women to 213 after they elected to bat.
Smriti Mandhana had set off with determination, putting on 55 with Punam Raut (19) for the first wicket and cruising on to 154 with Mithali Raj in a second-wicket stand of 99 in 20 overs.
But the Proteas had done well to restrict the run-rate to just 4.4, and at that point the Indians would have thought to accelerate, the speed-wobble started though. Ayabonga Khaka bowled tidily for a return of 1-16 off her first four, and immediately dismissed Mandhana for 84. Five balls later, Masabata Klaas bowled Raj for 45, forcing India to rebuild.
The Proteas pace attack stepped up, with Marizanne Kapp leading the way with two wickets in three balls as India hung on to end on 213-7, leaving the Proteas a run rate of 4.26.
The Proteas were playing catch-up from the moment they lost three wickets with just 23 runs on the board.
Only captain Dane van Niekerk, with 41, offered any real resistance. She put on 37 for the sixth wicket with Kapp, whose 23 was the highest of three scores in the twenties. No other score exceeded five.
It was particularly disappointing after the Proteas women had come back from the 2017 Women’s World Cup with an impressive record and well-earned respect.
They were beaten by England in a thrilling semi-final, having notched up wins against Sri Lanka, West Indies, India and Pakistan and Van Niekerk, Kapp and Laura Wolvaardt were named in the team of the tournament.
Tour Schedule: 7 February: 2nd ODI, Kimberley (10); 1o: 3rd ODI, Senwes Park, Potchefstroom (10)
13 February: 1st T20I, Senwes Park, Potchefstroom (1pm); 16: 2nd T20I, Buffalo Park, East London (1pm), 18: 3rd T20I, Wanderers, Johannesburg (9.45am); 21: 4th T20I, SuperSport Park, Centurion (1pm); 24: 5th T20I, Newlands, Cape Town.
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images