IND-W vs SA-W, 3rd T20: Shafali, Gayakwad star in India's nine-wicket consolation win

Shafali Verma's 30-ball 60 put India's chase on track after Rajeshwari Gayakwad's three-wicket haul helped India restrict South Africa to 112 in Tuesday's third T20I.

India opener Shafali Verma led the chase with a quickfire 60 to set up a nine-wicket win against South Africa.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

India on Tuesday night came up with a performance as clinical as it could get. A pity it came a bit too late in the night.

They may have scored the crushing nine-wicket victory in a dead rubber against South Africa, but the Women in Blue will cherish it for a while. As will the enthusiastic crowd at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Stadium.

The Indian fans not only witnessed their team winning the game in fashion, they were also treated to a spell of exceptional spin bowling and then some magnificent batting before the final game in the series ended well ahead of schedule.

HIGHLIGHTS | IND-W vs SA-W 3rd T20I Highlights: Shafali 60, Mandhana 48 power India to nine-wicket win over South Africa

The Indians took just 11 overs to breeze past South Africa's modest 112 for seven. Shafali Verma was the main reason for that. The 17-year-old opener smashed 60 off just 30 balls (7x4, 5x6) as she celebrated her elevation to the No. 1 spot in the ICC's T20 batting.

If she massacred a South African attack that had troubled the Indian batting in the first two T20Is, and for much of the five ODIs before that, her captain was playing her role of the smiling assassin to perfection.

When the left-handed stylist wasn't doing that, she got to watch Shafali playing a memorably destructive innings, as the youngster danced down the track when she felt like it and swung her bat around to great effect.

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Shafali was unstoppable. She took 18 off the South African spearhead Shabnim Ismail in the first over of the innings, with three fours and a six. The pacer would go for 19 in her second over, this time Smriti doing most of the damage. The stand-in skipper remained unbeaten on 48 (28b, 9x4) and her stand with Shafali was worth 96.

Earlier, left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (three for nine) ensured the South African innings never got going. She cleaned up the openers Lizelle Lee and Anneke Bosch to reduce the visitor to 15 for two in the PowerPlay.

South Africa never recovered. No batter got to 30, as the Indians bowled straight and fielded well. A little later, the Shafali-Smriti show got underway.

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