Priya Punia and Jemimah Rodrigues scored half-centuries as India cruised to victory in the first ODI
The heavy loss in the final T20I againt South Africa was only an aberration for India as the hosts came up with a clinical all-round show to win the opening ODI by eight wickets. All five bowlers employed by India picked up at least a wicket as they bowled out South Africa for 164. Priya Punia and Jemimah Rodrigues then scored half-centuries as India cruised to victory with 8.2 overs to spare.
Debutant Punia dropped on 6, capitalised on the opportunity as she batted patiently and provided solid support to Rodrigues, who went about it in his usual positive manner. They put on 83 for the opening wicket, with Rodrigues scoring 55 of those before she was trapped in front by Nondumiso Shangase.
It was after Rodrigues's dismissal that Punia scored the majority of the eight fours that she managed in her innings, with the 23-year-old playing the role of anchor to good effect. With Punam Raut and Mithali Raj entering the double digits, each of the partnerships for India crossed 40 - Punia being the common feature - as India reached the target without much fuss.
Earlier, after South Africa opted to bat, veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami struck off the opening delivery of the game to send back the dangerous Lizelle Lee, who was fresh off a knock of 84 in the sixth T20I. Laura Wolvaardt and Trisha Chetty, who returned to the squad after a lengthy lay-off due to a back injury, steadied the innings with a 32-run stand. However, Chetty was stumped off Ekta Bisht, who also dismissed Mignon du Preez in the same manner as South Africa's batters failed to convert their starts into big scores.
Marizanne Kapp, back in the team after missing the T20I leg against India, scored a fighting half-century but she didn't find much support from the other end. No. 7 onwards managed only single digits as South Africa ended up with a below-par total, one that wasn't enough to challenge the Indian batters.
Brief scores: South Africa 164 in 45.1 overs (Marizanne Kapp 54; Jhulan Goswami 3-33, Ekta Bisht 2-28, Shikha Pandey 2-38) lost to India 165/2 in 41.4 overs (Priya Punia 75*, Jemimah Rodrigues 55; Nadine de Klerk 1-29) by 8 wickets.