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T20I series against SA-W preparation ground for India Women ahead of Asia Cup & T20 WC

South Africa women tour of India: Top things India Women like to work on ahead of T20 World Cup and Asia Cup. What to expect from IND-W vs SA-W T20I series?

What to expect from India Women vs South Africa Women T20I series ahead of T20 World Cup |  Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI_X)
What to expect from India Women vs South Africa Women T20I series? (Photo: ©BCCI/X)

The India women's cricket team, led by Harmanpreet Kaur, is gearing up to face South Africa in a three-match T20I series starting on July 5. The team will be eager to use the three-match T20I series against South Africa, beginning from Friday, as a testbed to finetune their strategies before hitting the road to the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup.

This series serves as a crucial preparation ground for the upcoming Asia Cup and T20 World Cup. As their last bilateral series before these major tournaments, India’s team is determined to fine-tune their strategies and enter the competitions in top form. The team's recent performance in the ODI series and one-off Test against South Africa has been promising, with wins in all matches despite the Proteas putting up a fight. 

However, India's T20I record since 2023 shows a narrow gap between wins and losses, with three wins and four losses in seven series. The team aims to bridge this gap and gain momentum for the upcoming events. 

Key players firing for India 

Key players like Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Shafali Verma have shown impressive form in the ODI series and one-off Test. Mandhana's two hundreds and a fifty, Harmanpreet's hundred in the final ODI, and Verma's record-breaking double hundred in the one-off Test have boosted the team's confidence. Jemimah Rodrigues and Richa Ghosh have also shown signs of regaining their form, occupying the top five spots in India's run-makers' list in the T20I format. 

India's bowling lineup appears strong, with pacers Renuka Singh, Pooja Vastrakar and Arundhati Reddy consistently performing well. Spinners Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav, Asha Shobana and Shreyanka Patil add depth to the bowling attack. The team management will be looking for a flawless performance from their top-order batters and a strong bowling display against South Africa. 

India Women vs South Africa Women_ Smriti Mandhana scored two back to back centuries against South Africa _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©BCCIWomen_X)
Mandhana scored back to back centuries against South Africa (Source: ©BCCIWomen/X)
Fielding, an area of constant improvement  

With almost all sectors looking fine for the team, fielding remains as an area to improve for the Harmanpreet-led side. The same was echoed by India’s middle-order mainstay Jemimah Rodrigues. She identified fielding as an area of constant improvement for the team ahead of their three-match T20I series against the Proteas. 

“As an Indian women’s cricket team, we are setting our standards high and we will continue to do whatever it takes to maintain that standard. If there is one thing for a very long time that we were missing somewhere towards the end, where we would come close and miss out, we know it’s fielding,” she was quoted as saying. 

The Proteas’ perspective 

From South Africa's perspective, captain Laura Wolvaardt's form will be crucial in securing early momentum and runs. Wolvaardt has shown her prowess with centuries in the ODIs and one-off Test. However, the team cannot rely solely on her and need contributions from Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus, Anneke Bosch and Tazmin Brits. The Proteas' bowling attack, comprising Nonkululeko Mlaba, Masabata Klaas, Nadine de Klerk and Ayabonga Khaka, must also be at their best to counter India's strong batting lineup. 

The MA Chidambaram pitch, known for being sluggish, was smoother in the one-off Test. Both teams will be keeping a close eye on its nature ahead of the series. All-rounder Chloe Tryon has emphasised the need for consistency, and South Africa will be looking to improve their performance after a less-than-satisfactory outing against Sri Lanka in the T20Is at home.

A crucial prelude to Asia Cup and T20 World Cup

Overall, this series is a crucial test for both teams as they prepare for the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup. India will be seeking to fine-tune their strategies, bridge the gap in their T20I record, and enter the upcoming events with confidence. South Africa, on the other hand, will be looking to gain momentum and consistency in their performance.

The series presents a crucial chance for young India Women cricketers such as Shreyanka Patil and Titas Sadhu, along with others, to display their abilities and expertise in front of a tough competition. The matches give younger athletes an opportunity to evaluate their abilities against a strong rival. It serves as a stage for players to acquire important experience, absorb lessons from global contests and enhance their cricketing skills.

India (W) vs South Africa (W) T20 series schedule:

July 5, 2024: 1st T20I, Chennai

July 7, 2024: 2nd T20I, Chennai

July 9, 2024: 3rd T20I, Chennai

India Women Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (C) Smriti Mandhana (vc), Uma Chetry (wk), Richa Ghosh (wk), Dayalan Hemalatha, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Amanjot Kaur, Shreyanka Patil, Sajeevan Sajana, Deepti Sharma, Asha Sobhana, Arundhati Reddy, Renuka Singh, Shabnam Shakil, Pooja Vastrakar and Radha Yadav.

South Africa Women Squad: Laura Wolvaardt (C), Tazmin Brits, Mieke de Ridder (wk), Sinalo Jafta (wk), Anneke Bosch, Nadine de Klerk, Annerie Dercksen, Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus, Chloe Tryon, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Eliz-Mari Marx, Nonkululeko Mlaba and Tumi Sekhukhune.

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