Punia powers India to dominating win
Debutant Priya Punia starred in injured Smriti Mandhana’s absence following a fine bowling performance to set up India’s emphatic eight-wicket win over South Africa in the first ODI here on Wednesday.
South Africa struggled with the bat after winning the toss, bowled out for 164 in 45.1 overs. It was an all-round bowling effort from India with Jhulan Goswami (3/33), Shikha Pandey (2/38), Ekta Bisht (2/8) and Poonam Yadav (2/33) sharing the bulk of the wickets.
India cantered to victory in 41.4 overs with openers Punia (75 not out off 124) and Jeminah Rodrigues (55 off 65) laying the foundation for a resounding win. The three-match series is not part of the Women's ODI Championship.
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. The 23-year-old from Jaipur hit eight boundaries.
Rodrigues was back among runs after a lean run in the preceding five-match T20 series and shared an 83-run stand with Punia. It was a second ODI half-century for the highly talented 19-year-old, who smashed seven fours.