Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana steers India to a 2-0 lead against South Africa Women

India 144/1 Raj 76*, Mandhana 57 Daniels 1-21
South Africa 142/7 Luus 33, de Klerk 26 Poonam 2-18, Anuja 2-37
by nine wickets

Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana steers India to a 2-0 lead against South Africa Women

India made short work of an underwhelming total of 142/7 by South Africa in the second T20I to secure a 2-0 lead in the series. The chase was made to look ridiculously easy thanks to a free-wheeling 106-run opening partnership between Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj. Mandhana, who has been a thorn in South Africa’s side throughout the tour, was the more belligerent of the openers as has been the norm. The 12th over bowled by Raisibe Ntozakhe produced a slight flutter of excitement. Mandhana was dropped by Marizane Kapp while on 43. Mandhana managed a wry smile and then proceeded to hammer the next ball for a six over long off. An even better six followed sailing straight over the bowler’s head to bring up Mandhana’s fifty.

By the time she departed, India needed only 37 from 34 deliveries. An in-swinging delivery by Moseline Daniels found Mandhana pinned LBW. She finished with 57 from 42 balls which included 4 4s and 3 6s. Raj chugging along at the other end now decided to take on the chase herself. She accelerated from 45 to 72 in just 16 deliveries while Harmanpreet Kaur (7 from 12 balls) was content to watch. India achieved a dominant victory with 5 balls in the bank. Shabnim Ismail was once again quite expensive today giving away 28 runs in 3.1 overs. Only Daniels with an economy rate of 5.25 in her 4 overs and the solitary wicket of Mandhana was effective today.

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The seed of India’s victory was sown during South Africa’s batting. India invited South Africa to bat after Kaur won the toss. As in the first T20I, they got off to a quiet start with 19 from 3 overs off the bowling of Shikha Pandey and Pooja Vastrakar. Then Lizelle Lee, after getting a start once again, was dismissed by Pandey for 15 from 12 balls. That kept South Africa quiet for the next two overs and they could only amass 39 runs in the Powerplay.

Couple of ball after, captain Dane van Niekerk fell to Vastrakar scoring 15 from 18 deliveries. Disaster followed in the shape of the run-out of Mignon du Preez (11 from 7 balls) in the next over. Poonam Yadav struck in the next over with the wicket of Kapp (1 off 3 balls). 3 wickets in 3 overs, South Africa were well and truly in a deep hole.

Sune Luus, South Africa’s number 3, and Nadine de Klerk steadied the ship with a 43-run partnership with the Indian spinners in operation during the middle overs. In a bid to up the tempo, Luus (33 off 32 balls) stepped down the track to Poonam Yadav only to dispatch the ball straight into the hands of Veda Krishnamurthy at long on. Klerk (26 off 28 balls) followed in a similar fashion during Anuja Patil’s penultimate over, finding the safe hands of Krishnamurthy at long on again. With both the set batsmen gone on 111, South Africa looked headed for a severely under par total with only 2.4 overs to go. Chloe Tryon, who ran amok the other night, tried to inject some late pep to the score hitting 15 from 10 balls. Krishnamurthy snaffled her third catch of the match, Tryon becoming Patil’s second victim. Long on was a popular visiting spot today. Yadav and Patil finished with 2 wickets each.

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A no-ball off which a four was scored and a couple of runs from the free hit delivery enabled South Africa to scramble to 142/7. Eventually, the total was to prove a walk in the park for India.

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