India women's team got their 3-match ODI series campaign against South Africa off to a winning start, registering a thumping eight wicket win over Proteas in the first ODI played at the Reliance Stadium, Vadodra in Gujarat.
The hosts chased down a below-par target of 165 runs in 41.4 overs with 8 wickets in hand and took a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. Priya Punia led the batting efforts by scoring an unbeaten 75 runs from 124 balls laced with 8 boundaries. Jeminah Rodrigues chipped in with a handy half ton to lay the foundation of the victory.
Chasing the target, Punia -- who was making her ODI debut and Rodrigues -- gave India an upper hand as the duo shared an 83-run opening partnership. In the 21st over, Rodrigues was trapped in front of the wicket while she tried for a sweep off the bowling of Nondumiso Shangase.
Punia was then joined by Punam Raut (16) and both shared a short 45-run partnership to help India cross the 100-run mark.
Raut however, was dismissed in the 32nd over as she fell in a similar fashion like Rodrigues. Punia and the experienced Mithali Raj (11 off 24) then denied the visitors any further inroads into the Indian batting line-up as they comfortably steered their side to the target in 41.4 overs.
Punia, who has played three T20 Internationals, got the chance to play her maiden ODI after star opener Mandhana was ruled out on the eve of the game due to a fracture on her right toe.
Seasoned campaigner Jhulan Goswami got India off to the perfect start dismissing the in-form opener Lizelle Lee with a sharp in-swinger. Left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht’s off-spinner cast a web around wicketkeeper-batswoman Trisha Chetty and Mignon du Preez to get both batsmen stumped out.
Laura Wolvaardt and skipper Sune Luus failed to convert starts into big scores. Wickets kept tumbling from the other end but Marizanne Kapp held fort at one end. Kapp scored her first ODI half-century against India. Goswami eventually got the wicket of Kapp and ended the innings with 29 balls to go.