Latest Match Report – India vs SA Women First Match 2022/23

India 147 for 6 (Aminjot 41*, Bhatia 35, Deepti 33, Malaba 2-15) South Africa 120 for 9 (Loos 29, Trayvon 26, Vaidya 2-19) by 27 runs

It was a day where youngsters and veterans kicked off India’s final run in the Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa on a positive note. Debutant Amanjot Kaur and veteran Deepti Sharma rescued India from a critical situation to help them score what proved to be the match-winning score. Despite being 69 for 5 in the 12th over, the duo’s efforts put India on 147 for 44 in the last four overs.

The Indian spinners then used the dry, slow surface in hot and humid conditions to their advantage to hold off South Africa and seal a 27-run win.

This came after Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur was forced out of the tournament due to illness and the returning XI of the tourists, Shikha Pandey, Renuka Singh and Pooja Vastrakar, were not included, for unknown reasons.

South Africa took early control.

After entering on a slower surface, Indian openers Smriti Mandhana stood in for the ill Harmanpreet, and Yastika Bhatia regularly used her feet to force the pace. Mandhana managed to hit Aya Bunga Khaka through square leg after charging down but the latter fell to a ball after being hit at mid-off.

Using their bowlers in one-over spells in the first four overs, Sun Luce ensured that South Africa kept the pressure on India. At the end of the Powerplay, India were 29 for 1. Harleen Deol then welcomed left-arm spinner Nonkoliko Malaba with a slice through backward point and danced down the wicket for third. But she was run out on the very next ball after a slight hesitation on the second run. Jemima Rodriguez was then adjudged caught behind lower leg after Malaba missed a pull shot.

Bhatia shows off his equipment.

Perhaps if Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh – both part of the inaugural Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup – had been available, Bhatia would not have found a place in the playing XI. But he made the most of his opportunity.

When she was given life at the age of two, Bhatia managed to achieve a level measurement. She moved around the crease to keep the bowlers off their lengths. He first greeted fast bowler Nadine de Klerk with a middle heave through midwicket. Then, she walked across her stumps and hit a full ball from Masabata Class over fine leg for a mighty six. On the next ball, he picked up the short ball and threw the bridge through square leg.

Just as she was shifting into another gear, a fast off-spinner Dilmy Tucker deflected her stumps off her back pad. Devika Vaidya also fell soon after – thanks to Tucker’s diving catch at backward point – leaving India at 69 for 5.

Deepti, Amanjot revived India.

Once again in a dire situation, India had to look to Deepti to save them from a sticky situation. In the company of seven-bowling all-rounder Aman Jot, she joined the act of Qayamat Sughra. Louis was happy to get the slower bowlers, including himself, to try to squeeze.

But Deepti broke the shackles by hitting Tucker over long-on for a six. Aman Jot then came into her own, hitting consecutive fours through the covers of the sketch. He then hit two more fours off successive deliveries from Marizanne Kip – the second through a fortunate top edge over the wicketkeeper. Thanks to his three fours, India managed to score 15 runs in the 19th over.

By the time Deepti fell in the last over, she had managed a 50-ball 76 with Amanjot – the fourth-best sixth-wicket partnership in women’s T20Is. This helped India get closer to 150.

South Africa in a spin

India had as many as six spin bowling options in the XI and chasing South Africa was always going to be tough. Deepti only emphasized when Laura Wollwardt caught and bowled the other opener, Annick Bosch, before putting her on the ropes. Rajeshwari Gaikwad was the beneficiary next, dismissing him on his second ball.

Only Cup, playing T20Is after 16 months, looked the part with the bat. He bowled left-arm seamer Anjali Sarwani’s second over with a four and a six but was pinned due to spin. She managed to hold the fort for 35 balls during their 27-run partnership with Luce but couldn’t resist when leg-spinner Vaidya tossed one into her zone, getting out at long-off.

Luce soon fell after a mix-up with Chloe Trayvon, who was really South Africa’s last hope. He hit Deepti and Vaidya for fours each to keep alive the faint hopes of the hosts. But the writing was indeed on the wall when Radha Yadav bowled him LBW.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo.


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