Half centuries by each of the top four batters, propelled the Proteas to a series victory against India in Lucknow.
India 266/4 (Raut 104*, Kaur 54, Mithali 45.Sekhukhune 2/63)
South Africa 269/3 (Lee 69, Wolvaardt 53, Goodall 59*, Du Preez 61)
RESULT: SA won by 7 wickets
JOHANNESBURG – Half centuries by each of the top four batters, propelled the Proteas to a series victory against India in Lucknow on Sunday.
The South Africans displayed excellent composure and executed clinically against a spin heavy Indian attack to achieve their highest successful total batting second in a One-Day International. “We got clobbered the last time we came to India, so we definitely felt that we had a point to prove,” said Lara Goodall, citing the Proteas 0-3 series defeat in 2019.
“We are a lot more mature than we were two years ago. We really made a statement today, especially our batting unit, which has been under a lot of scrutiny. It’s a massive chase against a world class team, we’ll definitely enjoy this one.”
Lizelle Lee continued her outstanding form in this series, backing up a career-best 132* in the third match with a half-century on Sunday – the 19th of her career – to set the Proteas on their way.
Lee shared an opening stand of 116 with stand-in skipper Laura Wolvaardt, who made her second half-century of the series, although it wasn’t as fluent an innings as those for which she is known.
It didn’t matter, because that opening stand was important, as it provided belief in the dressing-room, and knocked some of the confidence out of India, who were feeling very confident about their total at the break, thanks to a century from the diminutive Punam Raut.
Lee was initially the aggressor, carving boundaries over the cover region and when the ball was dropped short, she successfully sought out the square leg and midwicket boundaries. The introduction of spin, saw good use of the sweep shot from Lee.
Wolvaardt’s was a more workmanlike innings than is the norm for her, as she struck just six boundaries in a 78-ball innings.
Goodall – batting at No.3 – struggled initially, too often trying the sweep when it wasn’t on, and failing to turn over the strike often enough.
But she settled down once the experienced Mignon du Preez arrived at the crease, and together that duo shared a partnership of 103 for the third wicket, which completely knocked the stuffing out of the hosts.
“Mignon really took the pressure off me, because I started slowly, and once she started scoring, it helped me to play a lot more freely,” said the 24-year-old left-hander. “We always felt in control, we didn’t lose wickets in clusters, which has been a problem for us in the past.”
Goodall grew in confidence once she got past 20, and by the latter stages was playing reverse sweeps, as she finished with a career best score, that included six boundaries.
Du Preez was richly deserving of the player of the match award, such was the intelligence she displayed in an innings in which she faced only 55 balls and hit eight fours and a lovely six over long-on.
South Africa’s most experienced cricketer, has shown that she is still evolving as a player and where she once struggled to propel the ball to the fence, now she finds the boundaries easily and still hasn’t lost a great ability of keeping the scoreboard ticking.
“It was nice to contribute, sometimes I don’t feel I do that enough as one of the most experienced players in the team,” she said afterwards.