For once, the Women in Blue had no clue. With the bat, or the ball.
They were hammered by a South African side that was playing for pride more than anything else in the sixth and final T20I match at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium. It was a brilliant knock from opener Lizelle Lee that stopped her side form being whitewashed.
The Indians won the series 3-1. The manner in which they lost the final match – by 105 runs -- must have been a shock for the full house on Friday night.
The crowd was treated to a superb exhibition of strokeplay by Lee (84, 47b) and her captain Sune Luus (62, 56b) as the pair put on 144 for the first wicket.
India's bowling spearhead Poonam Yadav and the rest of the spinners were dispatched mercilessly all around the park by the Lee and Luus. The openers ensured that the seamers were treated with just as much disdain, too.
The writing was on the wall when they went after Mansi Joshi -- the seamer who was one of the three changes the host made -- in the fourth over. Luus pulled the first ball through the mid-wicket for a four and then left it to her partner.
Seventeen runs came off that over. Lee’s extra-cover drive in it was probably the shot of the night.
She displayed lovely footwork, was particularly sever square of the wicket and played strokes all around, even scooping Arundhati Reddy above the keeper’s head to celebrate her fifty, which came off just 28 balls.
READ | As it happened
By the time Lee's top-edge off Poonam was caught by Shafali Verma, she had not merely posted her highest T20I score and became the leading scorer of fifties for her country. She had also batted India out of the match.
Indian top-order capitulates
The South African seamers made absolute certain of that. They sent back the half the Indian side back to the hut with just 13 runs on the board.
The attack was led once again by Shabnam Ismail, who showed why she is regarded as one of the best pace bowlers in the women’s game. She sent back Shafali Verma with a short-pitched delivery then trapped Jemimah Rodrigues on the very next ball. Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and her deputy Smriti Mandhana also departed for single-digit scores as the host faced a record collapse.
However, Veda Krishnamurthy and Arundhati gave the spectators something to cheer about with a few blows down the order, but the game had long been over. Nadine de Klerk, Anne Bosch and Nondumiso Shangase struck in tandem as the Indian innings was wrapped up at 70 to lose by 105 runs -- Indian women's biggest loss in T20Is.
The teams would now travel to another Gujarat city Vadodara, for a three-match ODI series, beginning on October 9.
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