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India Women ease to seven-wicket win in 1st T20I

Mithali Raj hits unbeaten 54; Jemimah Rodrigues impress on debut

With an unbeaten half-century, Mithali Raj (54* off 48) took India Women to a convincing seven-wicket win over Proteas Women in the first T20I at the Senwes Park, Potchefstroom. While the opener held one end up, Smriti Mandhana (28 off 15), debutant Jemimah Rodrigues (37 off 27) and Veda Krishnamurthy (37* off 22) partnered her in overhauling the 165-run chase with quick-fire knocks.

Debutant Pooja Vastrakar bowled a quiet first over after Harmanpreet Kaur elected to field in the first of the five-match series. However, L Lee took on Shikha Pandey in the next to garner 11 runs to set the momentum for the innings.

With D van Neikerk she added 26 runs for the opening stand before hitting Pandey to Harmanpreet Kaur at mid-off. S Luus, who then joined her skipper returned 36 runs later. After hitting Vastrakar for a four and six, the No 3 bat departed taking the aerial route off the last ball.

The SA skipper was the next to be dismissed; trapped lbw by Anuja Patil leaving SA on 84 for three in the 12th over. M du Preez and N de Klerk then worked to add to the flow of runs. While the Indian bowlers had done well to keep the flow of runs in check the duo had taken the Proteas Women to 130 when du Preez was sent back for 31 by Patil with Krishnamurthy taking a good running catch. With nine balls left in the innings, C Tryon came to the crease and smashed 32 off seven balls to pose India a competitive target. After hitting Patil for a boundary and six over long-on, she slammed Pandey for two sixes and two boundaries in the last over to help SA to 164 for four.

While Pandey had conceded 23 runs off the last over, Smriti Mandhana minimised the last over’s impact by clobbering M Kapp in the first over of the Indian innings. Mithali Raj collected a boundary off the first ball through slips, and the left-hand bat plucked two fours and a six to help India to 20 runs off the first over. Couple of sedate overs later, the duo collected 17 off Ismail to maintain the upper-hand.

However, with the visitors on 47, they lost two wickets in succession in the fifth over. While Mandhana perished handing a catch to van Neikerk in the cover region, Harmanpreet was run out off the next delivery. Rodrigues then joined Mithali in rebuilding the innings. They had taken India to 116 when the debutant was sent back by van Neikerk. Veda Krishnamurthy then joined the opener in the middle.

While Mithali continued to anchor the innings, the middle-order bat took on the bowlers from the word go. She attacked Ntozakhe to pick 16 off the over to close in on the target. As they attacked, Mithali brought up her 11th T20I half-century. With India in the driver’s seat, Krishnamurthy then lofted Tryon for six to take India to the target with seven balls to spare.

Brief scorecard: SA 164/4 in 20 overs (D van Neikerk 38, M du Preez 31, A Patil 2/23) lost to India 168/3 in 18.5 overs (M Raj 54*, V Krishnamurthy 37*, J Rodrigues 37, S Mandhana 28) by seven wickets.   

BCCI Staff

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South Africa Women manage to avoid whitewash

India lose the third ODI but win the series 2-1; get four ICC Championship points.

In a thrilling encounter, India Women lost the last game of the three-match ODI series against South Africa Women by seven wickets, but the visitors, however, won the series 2-1. India got four points and they are now second in the ICC Women's Championship Table - 2017-21.

Mignon du Preez anchored the 241-run chase with an unbeaten 90 and was ably complemented by Dane van Niekerk (41* off 30) in taking SA to the finish line. Before stitching a brisk 72-run stand with the middle-order bat, du Preez partnered with opener Laura Wolvaardt (59 off 142) in setting up a foundation for the chase.

Earlier, India lost Smriti Mandhana in the first over after electing to bat. The opener departed top-edging S Ismail towards covers leaving the team without a run on the board. Mithali Raj, who replaced her in the middle, returned 10 runs later edging A Khaka to the wicketkeeper.

While India lost two wickets upfront, Deepti Sharma, who opened the innings in the third match dug in her heels and held up one end. With Harmanpreet Kaur she added 47 runs to the total until the middle-order bat’s innings ended for 25. Having survived when on three, Harmanpreet left edging van Niekerk to L Lee.

With India on 57 for three, Veda Krishnamurthy (56 off 60) then joined hands with Deepti in rebuilding the innings. The stylish middle-order attacked to up the ante.

The pair had taken India to 140 when Krishnamurthy’s got out sweeping Ntozakhe; only to be caught in the short fine-leg region. 46 runs later, the opener hit C Tryon towards deep mid-wicket and returned for 79 leaving India on 186 for five.

Mona Meshram followed her back a bit later leaving the side on 186 for six. 27 runs later Sushma Verma was sent back by Ismail. While Shikha Pandey (31* off 26) looked to glean runs off the SA bowlers, India continued to lose wickets at the other end.

Debutant Pooja Vastrakar and Ekta Bisht were castled by Ismail in the penultimate over leaving India on 233 for nine. Poonam Yadav, who then joined, Pandey in taking India to 240 was run out off the last ball of the innings.

Defending a respectable total, Pandey gave India their first breakthrough with the wicket of Lee leaving the Proteas Women on 10 for one. However, Wolvaardt held one end up stoically even as the Indian bowlers kept the flow of runs in check. 41 runs later A Steyn was caught by Yadav off her own bowling which brought du Preez to the crease.

With runs hard to come by, Wolvaardt and du Preez bided their time at the crease as they shaped the South African innings. Batting determinedly both batters brought their half-centuries as they denied India a breakthrough. The duo had taken the home team to 169 when Bisht struck to end the partnership by accounting for the opener. du Preez then found an able ally in van Niekerk. The duo continued to run the singles to keep the scoreboard ticking as they worked to keep the chase on course.

While the Indian bowlers ebbed the flow of runs, the batters held their nerve keeping the match hanging in the balance. van Niekerk looking to take on the bowlers found the boundary at regular intervals to ease off the pressure. Both batters survived as they took their chances.

With 12 required of 12 balls, Bisht was reintroduced into the attack but conceded 10 off the penultimate. The South Africans then sailed to finish line in the last over. 

Player of the Match – Mignon du Preez
Player of the Series – Smriti Mandhana 

Brief scorecard: India 240/10 in 50 overs (D Sharma 79, V Krishnamurthy 56, S Pandey 31*; S Ismail 4/30, C Tryon 2/48) lost to SA 241/3 in 49.2 overs (M du Preez 90*, L Wolvaardt 59, D van Niekerk 41*, E Bisht 1/38) by 7 wickets.

BCCI Staff

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