INDvSA: Pooja Vastrakar guides India to series-levelling win

Team India made a comeback with a comfortable victory in the third T20I. South Africa were bowled out for 85 runs, with Pooja Vastrakar picking up four wickets. Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma managed to secure the total and level the series.

Tanveer Singh Kapoor
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Laura Wolvaardt Harmanpreet Kaur

Laura Wolvaardt (L) and Harmanpreet Kaur (R) with the trophy © BCCI

Team India bounced back with a victory in the third and the final T20I in Chennai on Tuesday (July 9) after a setback in the first game and a stalemate in the second. Pooja Vastrakar's bowling performance was the highlight of the game as the seam bowler's four wickets ensured the series would end on level terms (1-1). 

Having won the toss, Harmanpreet Kaur stuck with the same decision of bowling first as she did in the first T20I, which surprised most because of how things turned out for the hosts in that game. But the Indian skipper had other ideas this time as her decision paid off in style. South Africa started off in a slow manner, and skipper Laura Wolvaardt succumbed to the pressure by giving away her wicket to Shreyanka Patil in the fourth over on nine runs.

Vastrakar was the next to strike for India, rattling the timber and dismissing Marizanne Kapp. Already under pressure, in-form Tazmin Brits tried to shift gears for South Africa. But she couldn't pick up where she left off in the first two T20Is and fell victim to Deepti Sharma for 20 runs.

After the dominance of spinners, Vastrakar returned for her second spell in the 11th over, and picked two more wickets. Anneke Bosch departed for 17 runs, while Nadine de Klerk went for a duck. The economical Radha Yadav further exploited South Africa's woes by sending Annerie Dercksen back to the pavilion.

Hard hitter Chloe Tryon's poor form continued as Arundhati Reddy joined the party for India. Yadav returned in the 17th over, and the left-arm spinner got rid of Sinalo Jafta and Nonkulukeko Mlaba in a double wicket maiden, which was also the first maiden over of the series. Vastrakar put an end to the Proteas' misery, claiming her fourth and bowling the side out for 84 runs.

With a low total of 85 runs to chase, India didn't have much to do in the second half of the game. Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma were all India required to reach the target, ensuring a 10-wicket victory for the home side. The left-hander continued her good form in the series by adding another half-century to her tally. Vastrakar was awarded the Player of the Series for her impressive display with the ball. She picked up eight wickets in the three-match series.

Brief scores: South Africa 84/10 in 17.1 overs (Tazmin Brits 20; Pooja Vastrakar 4/13, Radha Yadav 3/6) lost to India 85/0 in 10.5 overs (Smriti Mandhana 54*, Shafali Verma 27*) by 10 wickets. POTM: Pooja Vastrakar. POTS: Pooja Vastrakar