2nd T20I – Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt shine again as Proteas clinch a historic T20I series win

The evening started off with South Africa winning the toss and electing to field first. Harmanpreet Kaur missing out on the game again and Smriti Mandhana leading the side, team India eyed at leveling the series by making one change in their team as Radha Yadav replaced Poonam Yadav.

 

South Africa Women's Cricket Team defeat India 4-1 in ODI Series. PC: Twitter
South Africa Women’s Cricket Team defeat India 4-1 in ODI Series. PC: Twitter

 

Just as India has started their innings with Shafali Verma and Mandhana opening with the bat, the latter had to depart early as she was taken down by Shabnim Ismail. All eyes were on Harleen Deol and Verma as they had to take their partnership long. India ended their powerplay exactly like the first match at 41/1. The duo brought up a quick 50-run stand between themselves by placing the balls in the gap for the boundaries.

India faced a huge setback as Verma, who was closing her half-century, lost her wicket to Mlaba, and Jemimah Rodrigues replaced her. But very soon, Harleen Deol was replaced by Richa Ghosh as she had to walk back after getting caught on long-on by Ismail off Anne Bosch’s ball. Interestingly, the game so far was very much similar to the previous T20I as Mandhana, Verma, and Deol were dismissed by the exact same bowlers who took them down in the last game.

Ghosh and Rodrigues had set firm on the field when one wrong shot by the latter cost India their fourth wicket in the form of Rodrigues. India’s run-rate kept flickering after they lost wickets. The last 4 overs of the innings saw a lot of action from Ghosh as she played very smartly to hit the ball towards the fence for boundaries. India ended their batting by putting 158 runs on board at the loss of 4 wickets.

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Lizelle Lee and Anne Bosch opened the line-up for South Africa with the bat. Bosch, the top scorer of the previous game, had to depart at the beginning of the game as she was knocked over by Rajeshwari Gayakwad. India had started putting pressure on the visitors from the beginning as Sune Luus replaced Bosch for the first wicket.

Luus and Lee started off great to take the score further and ending the powerplay at 41/1, just like India. Lee was dropped on 30 by Richa off Radha’s ball costing India huge and soon the duo brought up a 50-run partnership for the first wicket. Luus was run-out just after getting the partnership as Deepti’s perfect throw on the stumps helped get her out for 20. On the other hand, Lee continuing her good form scored her 13th T20I fifty proving how crucial she was for her side.

India’s fielding surely wasn’t up to the mark as Lee was dropped twice, on 30 and 60, by Richa Ghosh, and Luara Wolvaardt was dropped by Rajeshwari Gayakwad on her own ball. Lee and Lura also put up 50 runs for the second wicket partnership off just 30 deliveries. But Lee was caught and bowled by Radha, breaking the partnership and giving India a much-needed breakthrough.

South Africa seemed to be under pressure but India’s tryst with misfielding continued to be seen on-field. Wolvaardt put up a great show as she took her side close to victory. The death overs of the second innings saw a blend of action and drama too. With Radha spraining her ankle, Nuzhat Parween almost taking down Mignon du Preez and Jemimah diving on the fence to stop the boundary, the final overs were power-packed.

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The action continued till the last ball of the match. Even after du Preez getting caught off Deol’s ball, Wolvaardt’s boundaries towards the end built-up pressure on the hosts. As the visitors required just 9 off the last over, Arundhati’s bowling attack took the game neck-to-neck for both teams. Amidst all the drama, Wolvaardt completed her 50 without even realizing the same. The Proteas won the game on the last ball of the match to clinch the series. Poor fielding performance by India made them pay the price.

It was a historic moment for the South African team as they defeated India for the first time in a T20 series to take home the title.

With one more match to go, South Africa has already finished the game for them. But the two teams will meet again for the final T20I on 23rd March at 7 PM IST.

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