1st ODI (D/N), Bengaluru, June 16, 2024, South Africa Women tour of India
(37.4/50 ov, T:266) 122

IND Women won by 143 runs

Player Of The Match
117 (127)

Mandhana century, Asha four-for give India a winning start

The hosts recovered from 99 for 5 against South Africa in Bengaluru

Smriti Mandhana braved an injury to score her sixth ODI century, India vs South Africa, 1st women's ODI, Bengaluru, June 16, 2024

Smriti Mandhana hit her sixth ODI century and her first at home  •  BCCI

India265 for 8 (Mandhana 117, Khaka 3-47) beat South Africa 122 (Kapp 33, Asha 4-21) by 143 runs
Smriti Mandhana's outstanding century and a clinical bowling performance led by Asha Sobhana headlined India's massive win as they went 1-0 up against South Africa in the first of the three ODIs in Bengaluru, on Sunday.
Mandhana's 117, her first century at home and sixth in ODIs, rescued the hosts after they opted to bat first but suffered an early collapse. India added 166 runs after the fall of the fifth wicket, the most they have ever done in a women's ODI, to push their total from 99 for 5 to 265 for 8, which proved too much for South Africa, who had an underwhelming outing with the bat on a surface that offered variable bounce and turn.
The chase got off to a shaky start as South Africa lost Laura Wolvaardt, the returning Tazmin Brits and Anneke Bosch for 33 runs. Marizanne Kapp and Sune Luus chipped in briefly but none of the batters could negate the spin threat under lights at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Asha, showing no nerves on her debut, starred with four wickets to skittle the visitors for 122, handing India a 143-run victory.

India's oldest ODI debutant's two crucial overs

A month after making her international debut at 33 in the T20Is against Bangladesh, Asha was handed the ODI cap, becoming India's oldest debutant in this format as well. She was slotted in ahead of the offspinner Shreyanka Patil. That Asha has the knack of picking up big wickets in pressure situations was well-known after the WPL. On Sunday too, she showcased that control and maturity to tilt the momentum in India's favour.
After India's pacers and Deepti Sharma strangled South Africa's top order, South Africa slowly found a way to get back into the contest, thanks to Kapp and Luus' partnership. The duo had batted for more than ten overs after the fall of the third wicket and India knew a well-set Kapp could be a game-changer.
Having bowled two overs for eight runs, Asha came back for her second spell, in the 19th over. The legspinner started by conceding just two runs, getting enough drift and turn to slow down the scoring. After largely sticking to length deliveries in her first few overs, she floated one outside off this time, slow through the air, to deceive Kapp and force her to hit in the air towards cover where Harmanpreet was stationed. An easy catch for one of India's best fielders gave Asha joy, and her maiden ODI wicket.
In her next over, Jemimah Rodrigues dropped Annerie Dercksen at point but a mix-up between her and Luus ended Dercksen's innings as she was run out at the striker's end.
At 75 for 5, South Africa were all but out of the game.

India rejig batting order

D Hemalatha and Rodrigues were back in the XI. Rodrigues was returning from a back niggle after missing out on the Bangladesh T20I series while Hemalatha, on the back of good performances against Bangladesh, made her way to the ODI setup.
In India's last ODI series against Australia in December, head coach Amol Muzumdar had mentioned that Richa Ghosh would be suited for No. 3, with Harmanpreet and Rodrigues coming in after her. This was a deviation from her previous role where she was used as a finisher.
However, on Sunday, with Shafali Verma departing early for 7, Hemalatha slotted in at No. 3. She perished after a 16-ball 12. Rodrigues and Harmanpreet were India's Nos. 4 and 5 and Ghosh back to the lower-middle order at No. 6. She survived four balls but was then caught behind for 3.

Mandhana at home in Bengaluru

Ninety-two for three became 99 for 5 in the 22nd over and India were desperate for a big partnership. An ODI after a gap of six months, players are bound to be rusty. But not Mandhana. She put on a brisk 81-run stand for the sixth wicket with Deepti Sharma to lift the team past 250. Switching to the long format, the India vice-captain curbed her aggressive instinct to play along the ground to play long.
South Africa denied easy runs for India's batters, with the likes of Dercksen and Ayobhanga Khaka targeting a stump-to-stump line. But Mandhana countered well, using the crease whenever the opportunity arose to play her pull and cut shots to manufacture runs. Though she and Deepti kept the scorecard ticking, there were also chances to convert the ones to twos.
Mandhana hit 12 fours - seven of them on the leg side - and a six. She was all clarity and calmness. After 32 overs, she batted cramps on her way to hundred. But it also forced her to find a few quick boundaries and forgo the singles.
Once Deepti departed for 37, Pooja Vastrakar joined Mandhana and this pair stitched a 58-run stand off 54 deliveries to give India the late push they wanted. South Africa let their guard down in the last ten overs, conceding 74 runs, with the humidity also playing a major factor in their sloppy fielding.
Mandhana played for 193 minutes and 42.3 overs overall to make 117. In the end, South Africa could post only five more than her score.

Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

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