Mandhana equals Mithali Raj's record with back-to-back centuries against South Africa

Bengaluru, June 19 (IANS) India opener Smriti Mandhana etched her name in the annals of women’s cricket history by equalling former captain Mithali Raj’s all-time Indian record for the most centuries in women’s ODIs. Mandhana’s brilliant knock of 136 runs at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium against South Africa Women in the second ODI is her seventh ODI century, bringing her level with the legendary Raj.

Following her century in the series opener, when she scored 117 runs, the flamboyant left-hander continued her superb form. Her back-to-back centuries made her the first Indian woman to achieve this feat in ODI cricket.

The match began with a cautious start for Mandhana, who was kept quiet by the South African bowlers during the first powerplay. India lost opener Shafali Verma early, leaving Mandhana to anchor the innings. She meticulously built her innings, reaching 19 off 40 balls before shifting gears to dominate the bowlers. Her composed approach paid off as she reached her century in just 103 balls, eventually scoring 136 off 120 balls.

Mandhana’s knock was adorned with 18 boundaries and two sixes, showcasing her ability to both accumulate and accelerate runs. Her efforts propelled India past the 200-run mark inside the 40th over, setting a strong foundation for a formidable total.

Supporting Mandhana at the other end was captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who also slammed an 87-ball century. The duo’s partnership was crucial in maintaining the momentum and putting pressure on the South African bowlers.

However, Mandhana was dismissed in the 46th over scoring 136 of 129 deliveries, attempting to hit Nonkululeko Mlaba over the cover region.

India posted a mammoth total of 325 for three in 50 overs with the help of centuries by Mandhana and skipper Kaur.



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