Harmanpreet Kaur stresses on team's batting improvement

Harmanpreet was the only batter to play an impactful knock in the first T20I against South Africa, scoring 43.

Harmanpreet Kaur in action during India's first T20I match against South Africa in Surat.   -  Vijay Soneji

Captain Harmanpreet Kaur said the team’s below-par batting show in the first T20 International against South Africa here had left her nervous before the bowlers rose to the challenge with a stellar effort.

Harmanpreet was the only Indian batswoman to play an impactful knock, scoring 43, while the rest failed to chip in with any notable contribution. India posted 130 after being put in to bat on Tuesday.

The bowlers, led by player of the match Deepti Sharma (4-8), produced an impressive show to dismiss South Africa for 119 in 19.5 overs.

“I was nervous at the halfway stage but we knew that we’d have something for the bowlers. They did a great job,” Harmanpreet said after the match.

Harmanpreet lauded the efforts of the bowlers and how the side fielded. “We were doing a lot of fitness (regimens) before coming here and we got the result on the field. The way we fielded and bowled, I was happy,” she said.

Read: India women's team beats South Africa by 11 runs in first T20I

She said her side still needs improvement in several areas, especially batting.

“Lot of areas to improve. Need to improve a lot with the bat. We are playing with an extra batter, so if batters do well, we can do even better,” said the 30-year-old.

She said she had trusted Radha Yadav to do well in the final over of the South African run chase and eventually the left-arm bowler took two wickets to end the visiting side’s innings.

Star of the match Deepti said her effort was the “best bowling performance” of her career.

“We bowled how I had planned. Got help from the wicket too. The plan was to bowl wicket to wicket and it was turning, so I pitched it up too,” she said.

“The mindset was to bowl in front. We were confident at the halfway mark. And we wanted to enjoy. If you enjoy, you automatically do well,” the 22-year-old off-spinner said.

South Africa captain Sune Luus said 130 was a chaseable total though her side could not make it in the end.

“The way our new-ball bowlers bowled, they gave us a good platform to work on. We thought 130 was a total we could chase. Chasing 130 is about when you go for the charge,” she said.

“Lizelle Lee gave a good platform. The batsmen who then came in just couldn’t execute. The way Deepti and the spinners bowled, you could definitely see there was more spin as the evening progressed.”

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