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Debutant Punia powers India to 8-wkt win 

Vadodara, October 9

Debutant Priya Punia starred in the absence of the injured Smriti Mandhana, making a fine unbeaten 75 to take India to a win over South Africa in the first ODI.

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*) and Jemimah Rodrigues (55 ) laying the foundation of 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 the runs after a lean run in the preceding five-match T20I series and shared an 83-run stand with Punia. It was her second ODI half-century for the highly talented 19-year-old, who smashed seven fours. It was also captain Mithali Raj’s first game for India since March, and with it she became the first woman player to last more than 20 years in international cricket. She had made her debut back in June 1999. Raj retired from T20Is last month. After Goswami trapped Lizelle Lee on the first ball of the innings, opener Laura Wolvaardt (39) and Trisha Chetty (14) tried to steady the innings. From 89/3, South Africa collapsed to 115 for seven. In the end, they did well to post 164 but it turned out to be a comfortable chase for the Indians. Marizanne Kapp top-scored for South Africa with 54 off 64 balls.  Brief Scores: South Africa: 164 (Kapp 54, Woolvardt 39; Goswami 3/33, Bisht 2/28); India: 165/2 (Punia 75*, Rodrigues 55) 

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