Prasidh Krishna, Krunal Pandya emerge match-winners as England batsmen perish in quest of glory
23 Mar 2021
The Indian team that took the field today at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Stadium in Lucknow was totally different from the rest of the teams that played the rest seven games in the eight-match long tour of South Africa women. The players, mostly the same, at least from the last two games, had a different spark altogether in their body, the best among them being Shafali Verma. The 17-year-old hit a 30 ball 60 to make light work of the 113 run target set by the South Africans.
The Rohtak born was so fast in her approach that she started the chase by hitting the best Proteas women bowler Shabnim Ismail for 18 runs in the very first over, only dealing in boundaries. It got even worse for South Africa as Shafali’s partner and India team skipper Smriti Mandhana too got into the attack and before Ismail or her Sune Luus could make sense of what had hit them, the Indians were off and running away with the game.
The team fifty came up in just 26 balls and then the hundred in 55 balls. Although Shafali was removed, but not before hitting five sixes and seven fours in her innings. Mandhana continued the attack and got the team past the winning one in the 11th over only three consecutive fours to finish off the innings. She remained unbeaten on 48 off 28, while Harleen Deol, her partner was also not out on four. The 24-year-old Mandhana hit seven fours in her innings.
Earlier in the day, India finally won a toss in the T20I series and decided to field first. Complimenting that decision was Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who with her left arm spin choked the South African batting line of runs and picked up three crucial wickets, breaking the backbone of Luus’ side.
Hadn’t it been for the death over hitting from Lara Goodall (25 off 17) and Sinalo Jafta (16 off 9), it wouldn’t looked impossible for South Africa to even cross the 100 mark. Along with Gayakwad, Radha Yadav, Deepti Sharma, Arundhati Reddy and Simran Dil Bahadur too picked a wicket each. Harleen remained the only Indian bowler not to have taken a wicket in the innings.
South Africa, even after losing this game went on to win the series 2-1 and added another feather to their already shining cap, having decimated Indian eves in the preceding ODI series 4-1. This also ended the South Africa Women’s India tour.