Laura Wolvaardt did everything except win the Player-of-the-Match award, as South Africa women posted a resounding eight-wicket victory over India in the first One-Day International here on Sunday.
Even though 10% of tickets was put on sale, spectators were few in the massive structure.
That did not deter the teams, as they engaged in spells of lively play, with South Africa having the last laugh, in the warmth of the afternoon sun, when the Indian enthusiasm looked to have waned.
Captain Sune Luus said she was proud of her team for beating India in India by such a big margin, and setting the tempo for the five-match series.
Opting to bowl, South Africa turned the tide after India had reached 101 for three in 25 overs.
Skipper Mithali Raj anchored the Indian innings nicely with 50 off 85 balls. Harmanpreet Kaur was in good form, making 40 off 41 balls.
She looked good for more before an ambitious off-drive saw her getting caught on the boundary.
The Indians rued the inability to build on the good knocks. Naturally, India could muster only 177.
South Africa rolled on effortlessly, with Lizelle Lee (83 not out) and Laura Wolvaardt putting on 169 for the opening wicket. Jhulan Goswami claimed two wickets as a face-saving exercise.
Given her brilliant work on the field — three catches, including that of Mithali, and one direct-hit run out — not to forget her elegant batting — 80 off 110 balls — the 21-year-old Wolvaardt was the stand-out performer.
However, for her nippy bowling that fetched her three wickets, medium-pacer Shabnim Ismail was adjudged Player-of-the-Match.
INDIA: Jemimah Rodrigues c Lee b Kapp 1 (11b), Smriti Mandhana c Trisha b Khaka 14 (20b, 3×4), Punam Raut c Khaka b Shabnim 10 (29b, 1×4), Mithali Raj c Wolvaardt b Shabnim 50 (85b, 4×4, 1×6), Harmanpreet Kaur c Shabnim b Luus 40 (41b, 6×4), Deepti Sharma b Mlaba 27 (46b, 3×4), Sushma Verma c Wolvaardt b Mlaba 1 (12b), Jhulan Goswami c Wolvaardt b Shabnim 4 (11b), Monica Patel run out 4 (24b), Poonam Yadav (not out) 9 (21b), Rajeshwari Gayakwad (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (b-1, lb-4, w-12): 17; Total (for nine wkts. in 50 overs): 177.
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-16 (Smriti, 4.3 overs), 2-18 (Jemimah, 5.4), 3-40 (Punam, 13.4), 4-102 (Harmanpreet, 25.2), 5-154 (Mithali, 37.5), 6-155 (Deepti, 39.3), 7-158 (Sushma, 41.2), 8-160 (Jhulan, 44.2), 9-175 (Monica, 49.5).
SOUTH AFRICA BOWLING: Shabnim 10-3-28-3, Kapp 9-1-25-1, Khaka 10-1-29-1, Mlaba 10-1-41-2, Luus 5-0-23-1, de Klerk 6-0-26-0.
SOUTH AFRICA: Lizelle Lee (not out) 83 (122b, 11×4, 1×6), Laura Wolvaardt lbw b Jhulan 80 (110b, 12×4), Sune Luus c Deepti b Jhulan 1 (9b), Lara Goodall (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (b-4, lb-8, w-2): 14; Total (for two wkts. in 40.1 overs): 178.
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-169 (Wolvaardt, 37.1), 2-177 (Luus, 39.6).
INDIA BOWLING: Jhulan 10-1-38-2, Monica 4-1-20-0, Rajeshwari 8-0-34-0, Deepti 4-1-25-0, Poonam 10-0-34-0, Harmanpreet 4.1-0-15-0.
Toss: South Africa; Player-of-the-match: Shabnim Ismail.
South Africa won by eight wickets with 9.5 overs to spare to take a 1-0 lead in five-match series.
Second ODI: March 9, 9 a.m.