Spinners, Harmanpreet Kaur take India women to victory in additional T20I
India women 99 for 5 (Harmanpreet 34*, Ismail 2-19) beat South Africa women 98 for 8 (Wolvaardt 17, Radha 3-23, Deepti 2-19) by five wickets
Spinners Radha Yadav (3 for 23) and Deepti Sharma (2 for 19) stifled South Africa women before Harmanpreet Kaur steered the tricky chase to see India women home by five wickets in the additional T20I in Surat. Their victory ensured the extra game, scheduled to make up for two washed-outs, had no impact on the series result as India lead the now six-match series 3-0.
After being put in, South Africa kept losing wickets at regular intervals and could manage only 98 for 8. Six of their top seven batsmen reached double digits but none could cross 20. India though stumbled in what looked like a walk in the park and found themselves at 29 for 3 in the seventh over. However, Harmanpreet's unbeaten 34 off 32 balls, during which she also became the second Indian woman to reach 2000 T20I runs, took the hosts to victory with 17 balls to spare.
Earlier, South Africa's stand-in captain Sune Luus promoted herself to open the innings with Lizelle Lee but the move didn't pay off. Deepti and medium-pacer Shikha Pandey, who found some swing with the new ball, restricted the visitors to 13 in the first four overs. Lee tried to step it up with back-to-back fours off Deepti in the fifth over but Radha broke through by trapping Luus lbw with her first ball in the next.
Lee didn't last long either and fell to Poonam Yadav for 16 when she top-edged a slog to Smriti Mandhana at deep-backward square leg. Laura Wolvaardt and Nadine de Klerk added 32 in 28 balls to take the side to 57 for 2 at the end of the 11th over. But both batters fell in successive overs. Wolvaardt missed a sweep against Harmanpreet and was bowled for 17, while de Klerk fell to Radha.
The lower-middle order dragged South Africa to 96 for 5 before they lost three wickets in three balls while trying to accelerate. On the last ball of the penultimate over, Radha got debutant Anne Bosch while Deepti dismissed Shabnim Ismail and Lara Goodall with the first two of the 20th. Tumi Sekhukhune prevented the hat-trick but South Africa could manage only two runs from the final over and failed to reach even the three-figure mark.
Shafali Verma started the chase aggressively by lofting Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka straight down the ground for fours before Ismail got her caught behind for 14. At the other end though, Mandhana once again struggled for the timing and took six balls to open her account and was eventually dismissed for 7 in the last over of the Powerplay. And when Jemimah Rodrigues too fell in the next over, it appeared South Africa had an opening.
Harmanpreet though batted sensibly, nudging the ball in the gaps to rotate the strike while still putting away the loose deliveries. Along with Deepti, she took India to safety as the two added 50 in 49 balls for the fourth wicket.
Ismail struck again to send Deepti back for 16 but Harmanpreet stayed till the end and finished the game with an imperious square drive.