South Africa ended India’s perfect record at the ongoing Women’s World Cup as they crushed Mithali Raj’s side by 115 runs at Grace Grounds in Leicester. Having been asked to bat first, South Africa posted a formidable score of 273/9, before dismissing India for a paltry total of 158.
Brief Scores: South Africa 273/9 (Lizelle Lee 92, Dan Van Niekerk 57; Shikha Pandey 3/40, Ekta Bisht 2/68) beat India158/10 (Deepti Sharma 50, Jhulan Goswami 43*; Dan Van Niekerk 4/22, Ayabonga Khaka 2/33 ) by 115 runs
Mithali Raj won the toss for India and elected to bowl first, as India looked to take another step towards the semi-finals of the World Cup. While South Africa decided to go into the game with an unchanged side, India made one change to their line-up bringing in Shikha Pandey to replace Mansi Joshi.
Lizelle Lee stars as Indian bowlers falter
Shikha Pandey got India off to the perfect start as she cleaned up South African opener Laura Wolvaardt in the second over. However, Lizelle Lee and Trisha Chetty ensured that the Proteas didn’t suffer any further losses, as they strung together a 91 run partnership. It was Ekta Bisht who eventually got India the breakthrough that they desperately needed, dismissing Chetty whose lofted drive found the palms of Jhulan Goswami at mid off. Harmanpreet Kaur joined the action as she got rid of the dangerous Lee, by trapping the South African plumb in front of her stumps, after a brilliant 92 off just 55 balls. At the midway point of their innings, South Africa found themselves in the enviable position at 145/3. But India were clawed their way back into the game with two quick wickets in as many overs to restrict the Proteas to 163/5 with 20 overs to go. Over the next 10 overs, Sune Luus and Dane van Niekerk consolidated the innings and put the batting team back in the driving seat, taking the score past 200 before the former was sent packing. Van Niekerk though brought up her half century and ensured that the Proteas finished as the stronger of the two sides and posted a formidable score of 273/9 .
Van Niekerk rips through India’s batting line up
The Indian women needed a good start to seal their spot in the semi-finals, but they got off to anything but that as Shabnim Ismail sent the dangerous Smriti Mandhana packing in just the second over of the innings. Deepti Sharma joined Punam Raut after the loss of the first wicket and the duo strung a brief 43-run partnership before Raut was cleaned up by Ayabonga Khaka in the 12th over. But things got even worse for India as Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur both fell for naught in the following over to Niekerk, which left the Indian chase in disarray. While Raj was clean bowled by the South African, Kaur was trapped LBW. Though Deepti Sharma continued to wage a lonely battle at one end, she kept losing partners at the other. Khaka returned to clean up Veda Krishnamurthy in the 15th over before Shikha Pandey (0) and Sushma Verma (1) were also sent back to the pavilion which left India reeling at 65/7 at the end of 20 overs. Deepti Sharma and Jhulan Goswami struck a 53-run partnership off an astonishing 183 balls, during the course of which Sharma brought up a fighting half century in the 28th over. But the duo were simply delaying the inevitable as India finally laboured to three figures in the 33rd over. Sharma’s knock was ended by van Niekerk in the 39th over as her lofted drive found Moseline Daniels at long-on. Goswami, though, kept on going as she closed in on what would have been only her second half century in over 150 matches. But it wasn’t to be as Bisht and Poonam Yadav fell cheaply to end India’s innings at 158 with the legendary bowler being unbeaten on 43.