Brief Score: India women 140 for 4 (Shafali 46, Rodrigues 33) beat South Africa women 89 for 7 (Woolvardt 23, Poonam 3-13, Radha 2-16)
‘Catches win matches’- an old yet a proven proverb. The ratio was 7:1 for dropped catches between South Africa and India women in the fourth T20I played at Surat. India latched onto all the chances they got except one and backed by decent batting performances from Shafali Verma and Jemimah Rodrigues managed an unassailable lead of 2-0 with only one more game to go.
India convincingly defended 140 runs in a 17-overs-a-side affair courtesy its young crop of players. 15-year-old Shafali struck 46 off 33, and 19-year-old Jemimah plundered 33 runs at a strike rate of 150. In bowling, Poonam Yadav (3/13) and Radha Yadav (2/16) completely outplayed the opposition.
With 92 runs to get in 9 overs and losing a set player in Laura Wolvaardt didn’t go well with South Africa. Some desperate shot selection on a slow and turning wicket from the following batswomen led South Africa to its downfall and handed over India women a comprehensive 51 runs victory.
Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits’ 37 balls 39 was the only significant partnership South Africa could look back to. Wolvaardt was taken at point by Jemimah as she went for an inside out shot and ended up slicing it. Rest of the team just surrendered to Poonam and Radha’s magical spin.
The most surprising part of the game was the first innings where South Africa, the most agile side in fielding found no luck on Tuesday. Facing the third ball of the game and her first, Smriti Mandhana was surprised with a cross-seam bouncer which she edged close to the bowler and mid-off fielder as no one grabbed it. Then, in the very next over of Khaka, Shafali mishit a skier to mid-on and another catch was put down by South African fielder Lara Goodall. Khaka resumed her next over, fourth of the innings, here Smriti Mandhana was dropped twice in the span of three balls once by the cover fielder and another by Khaka herself.
Riding on the luck of miss-timed shots and poor fielding from South Africa women, India notched up 52 runs in just seven overs before Smriti Mandhana (13) finally holed out to Du Preez at the point after surviving four drops. Thereafter Shafali and Jemimah entertained the small but raucous Surat crowd with some beautiful stroke play. Though, the partnership didn’t last long as Shafali was bowled by Tumi Sekhukhune (1/22) four runs short of her maiden international fifty.
A valuable contribution from Captain Harmanpreet Kaur (16) and Deepti Sharma (22*) took India to 140. Unfortunately, in response, South Africa could only score 89 at the loss of seven wickets in 17 overs and lost the game by 51 runs and the series as well but, they must be very disappointed the way the day turned out for them. Sune Luss & co would be pondering over the fact that what could have been the result of the game if they would have held onto their chances?