Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 14 (ANI): Punam Raut and Harmanpreet Kaur played knocks of 104 and 54 respectively as India scored 266/4 in the allotted fifty overs against South Africa in the fourth ODI of the five-match series on Sunday here at the Ekana Cricket Stadium.
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. Punam Raut then joined Priya Punia in the middle and the duo formed 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. Skipper Mithali Raj 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 and as a result, she registered her third half-century in a row.
Both Mithali and Raut put on 103 runs for the third wicket, but with just five runs away from her half-century, Mithali ended up being dismissed by Tumi Sekhukhune in the 38th over, reducing India to 174/3. Through the course of her innings, Mithali became the first woman cricketer to register 7000 ODI runs.
In the final few overs, Raut and Harmanpreet Kaur scored runs at a brisk pace and this helped India to post a competitive score on the board. Harmanpreet played a knock of 54 runs off just 35 balls. Harmanpreet and Raut stitched together a partnership of 88 runs for the fourth wicket. In the end, Punam and Deepti Sharma remained unbeaten on 104 and 8 respectively.
Brief Scores: India Women 266/4 (Punam Raut 104*, Harmanpreet Kaur 54, Tumi Sekhukhune 2-63). (ANI)

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