Vadodara: Riding on debutant Priya Punia's 75 not out off 124, India beat South Africa by eight wickets in the first ODI match to take 1-0 lead in the three-match series, here at Reliance Stadium on Wednesday.
Chasing a target of 165 runs for victory, openers Punia and Jeminah Rodrigues (55 off 65) gave India a solid start and shared an 83-run opening partnership.Rodrigues continued his good form and scored his second ODI half-century, before getting out to Nondumiso Shangase in the 21st over.
After Rodrigues wicket, Punia was joined by Punam Raut (16) and both shared a short 45-run partnership to help India cross the 100-run mark.Raut was dismissed in the 32nd over after which Punia and the experienced Mithali Raj (11 off 24) comfortably chased down the target in 41.4 overs.
It was also captain Mithali Raj's first game for India since March and with that she became the first female to last more than 20 years in international cricket, having made her debut back in June 1999. Raj had retired from T20s last month.
Earlier, South Africa opted to bat after winning toss. South Africa were off to a poor start and struggled throughtout their innings as Indian bowlers kept on taking wickets at regular intervals.
Laura Wolvaardt (39) and Marizanne Kapp (54) were the only two batswomen who showed some fight to help South Africa reach a moderate total of 164 before they were wrapped up in 45.1 overs.