India opener Smriti Mandhana on Tuesday not only propelled her team to a win with her impressive half-century but also became the first player to hit 50-plus scores in ten successive ODI chases.
New Zealand’s Suzie Bates earlier held the record as she had scored nine consecutive 50-plus scores in chases. Smriti played an unbeaten knock of 80 runs against South Africa in the second ODI, helping India secure a commanding nine-wicket win in the match. She has scored more than 50 runs in every ODI chase starting from 2018.
South Africa skipper Sune Luus credited Smriti for taking India home in the second ODI. “I think Smriti played an exceptional innings today. Like I said 150 is a very small total to defend against India,” said Luus while replying to a query from ANI in a virtual press conference.
Chasing 158, Smriti smashed two sixes off the first two balls she faced and this gave the hosts early momentum. However, the Proteas stormed right back as Shabnim Ismail clean bowled Jemimah Rodrigues (9) in the fifth over of the innings.
Punam Raut then joined Smriti in the middle and the duo did not let the momentum drop for the hosts. Both batters put on an unbeaten stand of 138 runs as the hosts gained a victory by nine wickets with 128 balls to spare. Giving Smriti company, Punam remained unbeaten on 62.
India pacer Jhulan Goswami said her side managed to execute their plans well in the game. “It was absolutely a team effort. We managed to execute our plans,” Jhulan said in the virtual post-match press conference.
With this win, the hosts have now levelled the five-match series 1-1. India and South Africa will now lock horns in the third ODI on Friday at the same ground.