Spinners, Harmanpreet star as India Women clinches T20I series

While India Women clinched the series 3-0, with a match to play in the rescheduled series, South Africa slid to its third defeat in as many matches.

Poonam Yadav celebrates along with her team-mates after a dismissal.   -  Vijay Soneji

They fielded like tigresses. They bowled like misers. They batted like pros.

The Women in Blue are getting better and better in the shortest format. The South Africans made them look even better as they slid to their third defeat in as many matches at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium in front of another full house on a pleasant Thursday night. The Indians went 3-0 up, with a match to play on Friday.

After restricting the visitors to 98 for eight, the hosts romped home with plenty to spare — five wickets and 17 balls.

India vs South Africa Women | 5th T20I | As it Happened

It was never going to be a difficult chase and skipper Harmanpreet ensured that there were no hiccups. She remained unbeaten on 34 off 32 balls.

Her fourth wicket fifty-run partnership with Deepti Sharma, who had an excellent all-round game, calmed the nerves in the dressing room when India lost the third wicket with 29 runs on board.

The South Africans may have been able to put behind them the horror show on the field in the last game, but there just wasn’t enough runs on the board to test this strong Indian batting unit.

Harmanpreet Kaur plays a shot during the fifth T20I.   -  Vijay Soneji

 

Earlier, Harmanpreet’s decision to bow first proved right as her bowlers – including herself – came up with a tidy performance. The bowlers were ably backed by the fielders, whose catching was brilliant.

Proteas batting woes

Lizelle Lee and skipper Sune Luus gave South Africa a decent star with the latter promoting herself up the order. But, on a slow surface, the Indian spinners tied them down and the Proteas batswomen failed to rotate strike.

When Lee decided to break away from the shackles, stepping out to smash off-spinner Deepti first above her head and sweeping her over square leg, for successive fours in the fifth over, it looked as though the Proteas might be able to put up a substantial score for the first time in the series. However, that was not to be.

The very next ball, Luus, trying unwisely to sweep against the turn, was trapped lbw by left-arm spinner Radha Yadav.

In the following over, Lee’s attempt to park the in-from leg-spinner Poonam Yadav into the stands over square leg ended up as a top-edge. Smriti Mandhana judged it well; it would be the first of the several good catches the Indians took.

A third-wicket stand between Laura Wolvdaart and Nadine de Klerk did raise hopes of a fightback, but the Indian captain’s off-spin ended them. She had Wolvdaart bowled, as the well-set batter went for a mindless slog sweep.

Those who came after her fared hardly any better. It was another sparkling show by the Indian spinners under a starless sky.