India astoundedly chased their highest ever T20I chase, with a seven-wicket win in the first T20 against the Proteas women at Senwes Park Cricket Oval, Potchefstroom.
Mithali Raj made an unbeaten 54 in 48 balls, which is her third consecutive fifty in T20Is and dominated India’s chase of 165 runs after India’s T20 off-spinner Anuja Patil claimed 2 for 23 in her four overs.
India’s T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur chose to field first, after winning the toss. Protea’s star opener Lizelle Lee gave a quick start to their innings with three boundaries in five balls in the second and third over, until Shikha Pandey plucked out Lee in the fifth over of the innings, with Kaur catching her at mid-off. South African skipper Dane van Niekerk then was able to lift her side up once again along with Sune Luus (18) and Mignon du Preez (31) and took the score close to 100. Chloe Tryon then provided a clean rapid finish to their innings with 32 of just seven balls which consisted of three sixes and with a four in the last over that went for 23 runs and helped the Proteas to put a total of 164/4 on the board in 20 overs. Tyron’s strike rate of 457, is the highest ever by an international cricketer, male or female. Pooja Vastrakar was one of India’s four debutants that day and took one wicket for 34.
Keeping the run rate in mind, India too launched a blazing chase with Raj and Smriti Mandhana hitting three fours and a six off Marizanne Kapp in the very first over itself of the second innings. India stuttered a bit in the fifth over, when Mandhana fell for 15 in 28 balls and skipper Kaur was run out on her very first ball after a slight misunderstanding with Raj on the crease. Then came on crease the 17-year old debutant Jemimah Rodrigues, smashing three fours and a six in her first seven balls. She and Raj, scored 69 runs together in almost nine overs until she was sent back after scoring 37 off 27 balls.
Most of the innings was sorted by Raj’s fifty that included six fours and a six. She stayed unbeaten until the end along with hard hitter Veda Krishnamurthy (37*) and they together sealed the chase with Krishnamurthy hitting the winning runs with a six in the 19th over with seven balls to spare. Five South African bowlers conceded more than eight runs an over and three of their bowlers conceded more than eleven runs an over.
South Africa Women – 164/4 (20 overs)
India Women – 186/3 (18.5/20 overs)