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Monday, November 29, 2021

India women shocked by South Africa, Mithali Raj says bowlers lacked preparation

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The South African women’s team’s top-order batters fired in unison and helped their team clinch the five-match series against India with a seven-wicket victory in the fourth ODI on Sunday.

Chasing 267, Lizelle Lee (69), Laura Wolvaardt (53), Mignon du Preez (61) and Lara Goodall (59 not out) shone as the visitors completed the task in 48.4 overs for an unassailable 3-1 lead in the rubber.

A poor squad selection by new committee under Neetu David cost India dearly as the hosts paid the price for ignoring Shafali Verma’s flair in batting and Shikha Pandey’s experience in bowling.

The win meant seasoned Punam Raut’s third ODI hundred and veteran Harmanpreet Kaur’s scintillating 35-ball 54 went in vain.

The 31-year-old Raut struck 10 boundaries in her unbeaten 104. Harmanpreet smashed seven fours and a six, reaching her half-century in only 33 balls before falling to a slower ball. Soon after, Raut got to her century in 119 balls with a single.

Prior to that, Raut added 103 runs for the third wicket with skipper Mithali Raj (45 off 71 balls), who became the only player in women’s cricket to complete 7,000 ODI runs before getting out in the second powerplay.

Our bowlers need to work on preparation before a series: Mithali

Skipper Mithali Raj on Sunday said her bowlers lacked the right kind of preparation before entering the five-match series against South Africa.

“Even if we scored more than 266, it wouldn’t be enough, the way the South Africans batted. Our bowling department needs to work on preparation before a series. We lacked that,” Mithali said at the presentation ceremony.

“We are not a bad fielding side but there are things we can improve on,” she added.

Veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami missed the match due to a niggle and India struggled in her absence.

“We missed Jhulan’s experience but it was an opportunity for the other bowlers to step up and take responsibility. Our spin department is experienced. I expect them to come back stronger,” Mithali said.

Mignon du Preez was named the Player of the Match for her 55-ball 61, while raising a crucial partnership of 103 runs for the third wicket with Lara Goodall (59 not out), with whom she shared the award.

“I am sharing this with Lara Goodall. She also deserves this.”


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