Despite not playing a single T20I in 2017, the Indian women got into the groove brilliantly to register a seven-wicket win over South Africa Women in the first of the five-match T20I series in Potchefstroom. Batting first, South Africa posted a total of 164, which India chased in 18.5 overs.
Brief scores: South Africa Women 164/4 (Dane van Niekerk 38, Chloe Tryon 32*; Anuja Patil 2/23, Pooja Vastrakar 1/34) lost to India Women 168/3 in 18.5 overs (Mithali Raj 54*, Veda Krishnamurthy 37*, Moseline Daniels 1/16, Dane van Niekerk 1/23) by seven wickets.
After being asked to bat first, South African openers Lizelle Lee and Dane Van Niekerk got their side off to a brilliant start before medium pacer Shikha Pandey dismissed Lee for 19. Coming in at No.3, Sune Luus kept her ODI form going to score a run-a-ball 18 before perishing to pacer Pooja Vastrakar, who replaced the injured Jhulan Goswami in the team. While Niekerk seemed to steady the ship, she was castled by off-spinner Anuja Patil for 38 - a knock that comprised five hits to the fence and a six.
With the scoreboard reading 84/3 after Niekerk’s dismissal, Mignon du Preez started unleashing some stroke play and found an able ally in Nadine de Klerk as the pair combined to add 46 runs for the fourth wicket. However, just like the routine of the play, the hosts lost du Preez's wicket in the 19th over to Patil. However, if the Indians were celebrating the dismissal thinking they were in a good stead, they were in for a surprise as Chloe Tryon mustered a seven-ball 32 by slamming three sixes and two fours off Pandey in the last over to help the side finish with a respectable score of 164/4.
Chasing 165, India seemed to be on the right track after Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj added 47 runs for the opening wicket. Mandhana, especially, took the role of aggressor and smacked medium pacer Marizanne Kapp for two fours and a six in the first over. The opener continued her onslaught before left-arm pacer Moseline Daniels caught her off a Niekerk delivery after a quickfire 28 off just 15 balls. Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, India No. 3, failed to capitalize on that and was run out by Sune Luus without troubling the scorers.
However, that failed to affect Raj as she, in the company of debutant Jemimah Rodrigues, made sure that the run-rate was within reach as the visitors managed to put up 90/2 at the halfway mark of the innings. Raj stitched 69 runs with Rodrigues for the third wicket and then added 52 runs for the fourth wicket with Krishnamurthy.
After Rodrigues' dismissal, South Africa’s worst dream came true as Krishnamurthy unleashed a flurry of boundaries in her 22-ball 37 to take India home. She struck three boundaries and as many sixes during her stay as India chased down the target in 18.5 overs to go 1-0 up in the five-match series.
In the last 5 IND vs SA ODIs, SA was bowled out twice, while IND was bowled out only once.
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