India beat South Africa by 49 runs in their first Super Sixes match of the Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Colombo on Wednesday.
India captain Mithali Raj starred in what was seen as a high-profile match since India and South Africa had topped their respective groups and carried a maximum of four points from the preliminary league to the second stage in which they play teams from the other preliminary group.
The top four from the Super Six qualify not only for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 but also for the ICC Women’s Championship.
India have one foot in the door with three wins but with Sri Lanka defeating Pakistan by five wickets and Bangladesh beating Ireland by seven wickets in other matches on Wednesday, there is a mathematical chance of five teams finishing at par at the end of the league.
Put into bat, India rode fifties from captain Mithali Raj (64) and Mona Meshram (55) to score 205 in their quota of 50 overs. In reply, South Africa were bowled out for 156 in 46.4 overs.
Fast bowler Shikha Pandey took 4/34 while left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht took 3/22. South Africa middle-order bat Trisha Chetty resisted with an 81-ball 52 but the rest of the batting couldn’t give her enough support.
For India, Meshram and Raj stitched together a 96-run stand for the second wicket after opener Deepi Sharma was dismissed for nine. South Africa however kept chipping away at India’s batting after that, ensuring they couldn’t put up a huge score.
While batting, South Africa were reduced to 8/2 in the fifth over but recovered with a 52-run fourth wicket partnership but couldn’t keep up with the required rate. India next face Bangladesh on Friday.