Recent Match Report – India vs SA Women 1st Match 2022/23

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India 147/6 (Amanjot 41*, Bhatia 35, Deepti 33, Mlaba 2-15) South Africa 120/9 (Luce 29, Tryon 26, Vaidya 2-19) by 27 runs

It was a day where young and experienced players started India’s final run in the Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa on a positive note. Debutant Amanjot Kaur and experienced Deepti Sharma rescued India from a precarious position and helped them post match-winning scores. Despite being 69 for 5 in the 12th over, the duo’s efforts saw India score 147 runs in the last four overs, scoring 44 runs.

The Indian spinners then used the dry, slow surface in hot and humid conditions to their advantage to suffocate South Africa and seal a 27-run victory.

This came after India’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur was ruled out of the competition due to illness and the Tourist’s XI did not feature returnees Shikha Pandey, Renuka Singh and Pooja Vastrakar for reasons that could not be ascertained.

South Africa seized early control

After being put on a slow surface, India opener Smriti Mandhana stood in for an unwell Harmanpreet, and Yastika Bhatia regularly used her legs to force the pace. Mandhana managed to hit Ayabonga Khaka through square leg after charging, but the latter dropped a ball to hit it at mid-off.

Using his bowlers in spells of one over each in the first four overs, Sune Luus ensured that South Africa kept the pressure on India. At the end of the powerplay, India’s score was 29 for 1. Harleen Deol then welcomed left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba with a slice through backward point and short third after dancing down the wicket. But after a slight hesitation on the second run, she was run out on the very next ball. Jemimah Rodrigues was caught behind leg after Mlaba missed a pull shot.

Bhatia shows off his wares

Perhaps if Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh – part of the inaugural U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup – were both available, Bhatia might not have found a place in the XI. But he took full advantage of his opportunity.

After she was put on life support when she was two years old, Bhatia was able to obtain measurements of the surface. She kept moving around the crease to keep the bowlers away from her length. She first greeted seamer Nadine de Klerk with a middle heave through midwicket. Then, she went across her stumps and scooped a full ball from Masabata class over fine leg for a six. Next ball, he picked up the short ball and punched the pull over square leg.

As she was looking to shift into second gear, a quick off-spinner, Delmy Tucker, deflected off her back pad onto her stumps. Soon Devika Vaidya also fell – thanks to a diving catch by Tucker at backward point – to leave India at 69 for 5.

Deepti, Amanjot revive India

In dire straits once again, India had to look to Deepti to bail them out of a tight spot. In the company of seam-bowling all-rounder Amanjot, he worked with a resurgence act. Luus was happy to attempt to squeeze out the slower bowlers, including himself.

But Deepti broke the shackles by lofting Tucker over long-on for a six. After this, Amanjot hit consecutive fours with the help of covers off Khaka’s ball. He then hit two more fours off successive deliveries from Marijan Kapp – the second through a lucky top edge over the wicket-keeper. Due to his three fours, India managed to score 15 runs in the 19th over.

By the time Deepti fell in the last over, she had put on 76 runs in 50 balls with Amanjot – the fourth best partnership for Sixth wicket in Women’s T20I, It helped India get close to 150.

South Africa in the maze

India had six spin-bowling options in the XI and South Africa’s chase was always going to be difficult. Brilliance prevailed only to have Laura Wolvaardt caught and bowled after putting the other opener, Anneke Bosch, on a string. Rajeshwari Gaikwad was then the beneficiary, striking her second ball to dismiss her.

Kapp, playing T20Is after 16 months, was the only one to do well with the bat. She hit a four and a six in the second over off left-arm fast bowler Anjali Sarwani but was caught by the spin. She managed to hold the fort off 35 balls during their 27-run partnership with Luus, but was dismissed at long-off when legspinner Vaidya tossed one in his area.

Luce soon fell after a mix-up with Chloe Tryon, who was practically South Africa’s last hope. He kept the hosts’ slim hopes alive by hitting two fours each off Deepti and Vaidya. But when Radha Yadav got out lbw, the writing was on the wall.

S Sudarshanan is the Deputy Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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