Indian women's team opener Smiriti Mandhana on Tuesday achieved an elusive feat en route to her sensational and unbeaten 64-ball 80 against South Africa Women at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
Mandhana became the first cricketer, male or female, to score 10 consecutive fifty-plus knocks in ODI chases, a streak that started back in March 2018 against Australia Women in Vadodra. Her scores hence read: 67, 52, 86, 53*, 73*, 105, 90*, 63, 74 and 80*.
Overall, she has 14 fifty-plus knocks in chases which is the joint-eighth most by a women's cricketer in ODI history, tying New Zealand's Debbie Hockley, and stands second among Indians after Mithali Raj's tally of 25 such scores. Mandhana's average of 63.26 in chases is the second-most by a player who has at least played 20 ODIs, standing only behind Australia's Meg Lanning (67.81).
Talking about the game, a strong all-round performance helped India women bounce back from their series-opening defeat against South Africa with a comfortable nine-wicket win in the second ODI. Jhulan Goswami lead a clinical bowling display by claiming four for 42 as the tourists were bundled out for 157 in 41 overs at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium. Half centuries by Smriti Mandhana (80 not out off 64 balls, 10 fours, three sixes) and Punam Raut (62 not out off 89 balls, eight fours) then led a strong reply as the hosts won with more than 20 overs to spare.
It was a good response by the Indians, especially after they were on the other end of a heavy defeat by the South Africans in match one on Sunday.(with IANS inputs)