Harmanpreet, Deepti steer India 1-up

Mignon du Preez’s half-century went in vain as India registered an 11-run win over South Africa in the first T20I on Tuesday (September 24), in Surat.

Put in to bat, India lost 15-year old debutant Shefali Verma in the first over for a duck, becoming the first of Shabnim Ismail’s three victims on the day. The veteran pacer was well-backed by the returning Ayabonga Khaka, who didn’t allow the Indian batters, especially Jemimah Rodrigues, to break free in the powerplay. However, Smriti Mandhana struck four boundaries en route her 16-ball 21 before falling to Nondumiso Shangase in the last over of the powerplay.

Harmanpreet Kaur steadied India’s innings with a couple of handy partnerships, in the company of Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma, and took the hosts past the 100-run mark by the 15th over. While Harmanpreet slammed two sixes and three boundaries in her 34-ball 43, Rodrigues and Deepti played a more sedate hand.

However, with Nadine de Klerk dismissing both the set batters – Harmanpreet and Deepti – in the 16th over, South Africa managed to retrieve some control in the death overs. Ismail struck twice more as a flurry of wickets followed. Taniya Bhatia’s 5-ball 11 helped India to 130 for 8 on a sluggish wicket – a competitive total at best.

South Africa got off to a flying start in the chase, collecting 18 runs from Pooja Vastrakar’s opening over, which included 6 wides. Lizelle Lee seemed to have carried forward her form from the practice game and stroked four boundaries in her first 10 deliveries before getting knocked over by Shikha Pandey.

Tazmin Brits was choked by Deepti, who returned a double-wicket maiden – which included the scalp of de Klerk, who was caught edging to the ‘keeper. The off-break bowler tied up South Africa’s scoring, delivering three successive maidens and picking as many wickets.

Even as wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals, with only three batters managing double-digit scores, the experienced du Preez waged a lone battle. While the tweakers were strangling the rest, du Preez kept giving them the charge time and again. After hitting Poonam Yadav for successive boundaries through the legside in the 11th over, she hit two boundaries and a six off three consecutive deliveries – across two overs – to Radha Yadav and Harmanpreet Kaur.

The 30-year-old brought up her sixth T20I fifty with a couple off the first delivery of the penultimate over – also the first run conceded by Deepti on the day. Needing 18 off the final over, she slammed Radha for a six over deep extra cover. However, the slow left-armer came back strong and delivered a couple of dot deliveries before having du Preez stumped. The teenager struck again off the next ball, having Mlaba also stumped to bundle out the visitors for 119.

While Bhatia played a cameo and had four dismissals to her credit, and Poonam Yadav backed up her run-a-ball 16 with impressive bowling returns, Harmanpreet was adjudged the Player of the Match for her quickfire 43 on a slow wicket, followed by a wicket with the ball.

Brief scores: India 130/8 in 20 overs (Hamanpreet Kaur 43, Smriti Mandhana 21; Shabnim Ismail 3-26, Nadine de Klerk 2-10)beat South Africa 119 in 19.5 overs (Mignon du Preez 59, Lizelle Lee 16; Deepti Sharma 3-8, Shikha Pandey 2-8) by 11 runs

Source – © Cricbuzz

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