Latest Update: South Africans bundled out for 164. This has been a mediocre performance by the visiting team. Marizanne Kapp did come up with 54, but it remains to be seen if they can win the match from here on.
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The Indian cricket team led by Mithali Raj received a massive jolt on the eve of the first of three ODIs against South Africa as Smriti Mandhana was ruled out of the series due to an injury picked up during a training session. Mandhana, who hadn’t been in the best nick during the T20I series against the Proteas, would have hoped to recover her form in the 50-over contests. While most of the side remains the same, the two most notable inclusions are of course Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, both of whom will be tasked with using their experience to guide the team on and off the field in what promises to be an exciting series where the hosts begin as favourites.
For coach WV Raman and India, the plan is likely to remain the same as that in the T20I series – attack the South Africans with the spinners and look to bowl them out as cheaply as possible. However, the poor form of the batting lineup will remain a concern and the team will hope the presence of the veteran skipper will not only add grit but help turn their fortunes around. Young Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia and Harmanpreet Kaur will have a lot more responsibility in supporting their captain especially with Mandhana out of action.
Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht and Pooja Vastrakar will form the support cast for the Goswami and Shikha Pandey against a Proteas batting lineup that has includes the dangerous Mignon du Preez. The visitors have included Marizanne Kapp and Trisha Chetty in the squad for the ODIs and both will be raring to go. Kapp will reduce the workload of Shabnim Ismail as the bowling spearhead, which also means the duo is likely to give the Indian batting more than a few headaches. Ismail certainly enjoyed leading the charge with the new ball in the T20s and will look to continue her form into the 50-over games.
While the South African’s too have had their problems with the bat, Sune Luus and du Preez are the two on whom they’re likely to depend on majorly. In their last five encounters, India have had the better of their South African counterparts thrice, and in Vadodara at the Reliance Cricket Stadium, they will look to better the record. The pitch is expected to get flatter as the game progresses in Vadodara due to the heat, which is likely to ensure the fast bowlers on either team have a difficult time.
India: Mithali Raj (c), Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Punam Raut, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Mansi Joshi, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, D Hemalatha, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Priya Punia, Pooja Vastrakar
South Africa: Sune Luus (c), Tasmin Brits, Trisha Chetty (wk), Nadine de Klerk, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Lara Goodall, Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune, Nondumiso Shangase, Mignon du Preez, Laura Wolvaardt