Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 14 (ANI): Punam Raut’s unbeaten 104-run knock went in vain as South Africa defeated India by seven wickets in the fourth ODI on Sunday here at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Stadium.
With this win, South Africa has attained an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series. Lizelle Lee (63), Mignon du Preez (61), and Lara Goodall (59*) starred with the bat for the Proteas as they chased down a stiff target of 267 with eight balls to spare. This is also the highest run-chase ever recorded by the Proteas women’s side.
South Africa had a great start to their chase as openers Lee and Laura Wolvaardt put on 116 runs for the first wicket. The partnership saw Lee registering her second fifty-plus score in a row. But as soon as South Africa started to run away with the game, Harmanpreet Kaur had Lee (69) adjudged leg before wicket in the 23rd over.
Goodall then joined Wolvaardt in the middle and both batters put on just 17 runs for the second wicket as Mansi Joshi ended the latter’s (53) stay at the crease in the 29th over of the innings. du Preez then joined Goodall in the middle and the duo mixed caution with aggression to keep the scoreboard ticking at a good pace.
With Proteas needing just 31 runs more for victory, Rajeshwari Gayakwad dismissed du Preez (61) in the 45th over of the innings and ignited hopes of a comeback for Mithali Raj’s side. However, Goodall ensured that the visitors did not suffer any further hiccups and the side chased down the target in the penultimate over of their innings. Marizanne Kapp remained unbeaten on 22.
Earlier, Raut and Kaur played knocks of 104* and 54 respectively as India scored 266/4 in the allotted fifty overs. Put in to bat first, India got off to a bad start as the in-form batter Smriti Mandhana (10) was sent back to the pavilion in just the fifth over of the innings. Raut then joined Priya Punia in the middle and the duo stitched a 44-run stand to revive India’s innings.
As soon as the hosts started to gain an upper hand, South Africa struck back as Nondumiso Shangase dismissed Punia (32), reducing India to 61/2 in the 16th over. The Indian skipper then came to the middle and she joined Raut at the crease. Raj and Raut mixed caution with aggression and both batters kept on ticking the scoreboard ahead slowly and steadily. Raut brought up her 50 in the 32nd over of the innings, registering her third half-century in a row.
Raj and Raut put on 103 runs for the third wicket, but with just five runs away from her half-century, the Indian captain was dismissed by Tumi Sekhukhune in the 38th over. Through the course of her innings, Raj became the first woman cricketer to register 7,000 ODI runs.
In the final few overs, Raut and Kaur scored runs at a brisk pace and this helped India to post a competitive score on the board. The Indian vice-captain played a knock of 54 runs off just 35 balls while sharing an 88-run partnership with Raut for the fourth wicket. In the end, Punam and Deepti Sharma remained unbeaten on 104 and 8 respectively.
The two teams will now face each other in the fifth and final ODI on Wednesday at the same venue.
Brief Scores: India Women 266/4 (Punam Raut 104*, Harmanpreet Kaur 54, Tumi Sekhukhune 2-63); South Africa Women 269/3 (Lizelle Lee 63, Lara Goodall 59*, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 1-47). (ANI)

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