India women beat South Africa by six runs in a low-scoring third and final One-Day International at the Reliance Cricket Ground here on Monday.
Set a sub-par target of 147, South Africa collapsed from a comfortable 103 for five to 140 all out. The close win allowed India complete a 3-0 sweep of the ODI series.
South Africa had the upper hand when Marizanne Kapp and Sune Luus were at the crease.
The duo put on 40 for the sixth wicket.
Luus (24, 54b, 2×4) fell to left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht, chipping one back to the bowler. Deepti Sharma then got the key wicket of Kapp (29, 43b, 2×4) leg-before, with a sharp off-break.
Battling it out
Shabnim Ismail (11, 57b) and Nondimuso Shangase (10, 31b) hung around gamely, but when Shabnim pulled a short ball from Harmanpreet Kaur to Punam Raut at deep mid-wicket, South Africa’s hopes were dashed.
The last-wicket pair of Ayabonga Khaka and Tumi Sekhukhune was left with a tricky nine runs to win. Captain Mithali Raj made a bold move, bringing part-timer Jemimah Rodrigues into the attack. It worked, as Jemimah got Sekhukhune to edge an off-break to Deepti Sharma in the slips, sparking wild celebrations. The South Africans had made a mess of what should have been a routine chase. “If I hadn’t lost my wicket, we would have won. In fact, we should have chased this down with only three down,” said Kapp.
Harmanpreet and Shikha shine
After opting to bat, India struggled to find runs on a slow, low pitch. A 49-run seventh-wicket stand between Harmanpreet (38, 76b, 5×4) and Shikha Pandey (35, 40b, 6×4) gave the team some hope.
Kapp (three for 20) was the most successful South African bowler, using cutters to great effect.
The burly Lizelle Lee shone bright on the field, taking two sharp, low catches and also a one-handed screamer above her head.