For South Africa, Laura Wolvaardt scored a fantastic fifty and there were contributions right through their batting unit which ensured that they were in the game till the end with Mignon du Preez guiding her side over the line with drama in the last over. Harmanpreet Kaur should get special mention for her 48 runs, two wickets and three run-outs.
Lee gets run out
Chasing 275, South Africa didn’t start off well. India introduced Deepti Sharma in the power play and she bowled a good spell of four overs, conceding only nine runs. Meghna Singh also started her spell in an economical way. The pressure created from both the ends resulted in the Proteas openers trying to get a sneaky single. Harmanpreet Kaur was quick on her feet as she had a direct shy on the stumps which saw Lizelle Lee get run out for the second time in this tournament, this time for just six runs.
Wolvaardt and Goodall catch India off guard
Wolvaardt continued her good form with the bat. She took a liking to Singh, who was guilty of either pitching it short or too full. Wolvaardt hit her for four boundaries inside the power play. The elegant right-handed opener kept getting boundaries beyond the power play. Wolvaardt was excellent on the off-side, especially in front of square. She also managed to set a few boundaries toward the third.
Goodall also made sure that the pressure was never off the Indian bowlers. Between overs ten and 20, the pair managed to get 57 runs. Wolvaardt, who had struggled with her strike rate slightly in the tournament, managed to bat through her knock with a strike rate of around 100.
India strike back with Kaur magic
After a 125-run stand between the duo, Rajeshwari Gayakwad changed her line by a fraction and managed to one turn sharply. Goodall who stepped out of her crease to get a single, but missed it. Richa Ghosh managed to collect it well and stumped her out for 49. Meanwhile, Kaur was introduced into the attack and got some success with her second over.
In the over right after, she got one to pitch up and lured Wolvaardt to drive through, but the ball turned a bit, knocking off the stumps. With that, the opener was dismissed 80 runs off 79 deliveries. At this point, the pressure was getting to the South Africa batters. Sune Luus and Mignon du Preez who had just arrived on the crease were rotating strike from time to time, but boundaries dried up.
In the 37th over, Luus stretched forward to defend a ball from Kaur which crashed on the pads. The umpire didn’t give her out initially but on DRS review, it was seen that the ball was hitting the stumps. Luus departed for 22 from 27 balls.
The match flows either ways
Heading into the final ten overs, South Africa needed 77 runs with Marizanne Kapp hitting two boundaries in the overs between 41-44. With 49 runs needed off the last six overs, Gayakwad bowled a loopy delivery to du Preez who tried to go downtown, but was dropped by Smriti Mandhana. However, a couple of balls later, Kaur produced another fantastic run out, this time, dismissing Kapp for 32 off 30 balls.
With 45 runs from the last five overs, Pooja Vastrakar was brought back into the attack. The experienced du Preez smashed the pacer for a boundary straight down the ground and then got another one on the leg side.
Tryon then took on Gayakwad. She first smashed her over covers, then towards the long leg boundary and ended the over with another one straight down the ground. That brought down the required rate around six, but Tryon ended up getting caught and bowled by Gayakwad for 17 off nine deliveries.
With 20 runs from the last three overs, Proteas took six singles. The next over from Gayakwad conceding only seven runs, leaving the equation down to seven runs needed from the last over. Deepti Sharma got a brilliant run out in pair with Kaur who sent the throw from the deep. That was also the moment when du Preez got to her fifty.
With three runs needed off the last two deliveries, du Preez went down the ground and hit the ball to the deep in the air. Kaur was there to catch it. However, it was later revealed that it was a no ball. Another single meant South Africa needed one run off the last ball. Du Preez went back to the crease to flick the ball for a single and help South Africa to a thrilling win.
Verma gives India a fiery start
India’s teen sensation Verma started off the day with a bang in her usual style. She especially took a liking to Shabnim Ismail and smashed her over extra-cover in the first over of the game. In her second over, Verma first got a delivery on the leg-side which managed to get away to fine-leg boundary and then smashed a short and wide delivery past backward-point. She then got really adventurous and went outside off stump and dragged a ball to fine-leg. India were 30 for 0 after the first three overs.
Verma took on the Ayabonga Khaka as well, hitting her for two boundaries inside the power play. Mandhana, on the other hand, was taking her time. Though the southpaw managed to get some boundaries off Marizanne Kapp, she wasn’t in the best touch as Verma on the other end. India were 68 with no loss after the end of the power play. Mandhana finally broke her shackles when she cleared her front leg to smash Masabata Klaas over deep mid-wicket for a six.
South Africa bounce back
With India going over six runs per over, South Africa were struggling to stop the Indian opener. However, a mix-up in the middle between Verma and Mandhana sent the right-handed opener back for 53 runs from 46 balls. Yastika Bhatia, who walked in at no. 3, was bowled when she tried to sweep a low full toss by Chloe Tryon but ended up chopping on the stumps.
Mithali, Mandhana help India’s recovery
Skipper Raj joined Mandhana in the middle after the two wickets fell in quick succession. Raj took nine balls to get off strike but managed to knock a boundary down the leg side off Tryon to get going. Mandhana, on the other end, was set and rotating the strike to keep the scoreboard moving. She reached her fifty in the 27th over off 69 balls.
Right after reaching the landmark, she got two boundaries off Kapp, one down the leg side and another past the keeper towards the third. Kapp went for 11 runs in that over and in her next over as well, when Mithali leaned onto a drive, getting a boundary through extra-cover. After the 30-over mark, India was 165 for 2.
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Mandhana got out in the 32nd over when she tried to take Klaas over the top of the mid off fielder, but was caught brilliantly by Tryon. Her knock ended on 71 runs from 84 balls. Harmanpreet Kaur joined Mithali in the middle as the duo started India’s surge into the late overs.
South Africa slow things down
Between the overs 35-40, India got 34 runs with Mithali getting three boundaries in this period and also going past her fifty. She showed intent to score quickly once she reached the landmark and India were well-placed at 223 for 3 with ten overs still to go. However, after getting 115 runs in the last 20 overs, India’s batting didn’t manage to accelerate and take the advantage in the last ten overs.
Klaas started the procession when she dismissed Mithali for 68 from 84 balls. After that, the other pacers took over. They used the slower ball to their good effect as the wicket seemed to slow down. Vastrakar, who was promoted to no. 6, but failed to read a slower one from Shabnim Ismail and got caught out at covers for just three.
Ghosh, who walked in next, also seemed to be struggling against the pace of the wicket while Kaur kepting moving the strike as much as possible to keep the run rate around five and half. She did take on Kapp briefly, smashing her for two back to back boundaries in the 48th over.
Ismail then got rid of Ghosh in the next over before Khaka cleaned up Kaur in the last over for 48 from 57 deliveries. Ismail started the day with 31 runs from her first three overs, but her next seven overs went for only 11 runs where she used the bouncers quite well and also took two wickets. She played a part as India got 51 runs losing four wickets in the last ten overs. India ended at 274 for 7 in their overs.
Brief scores: India 274/7 in 50 overs (Smriti Mandhana 71, Mithali Raj 68; Masabata Klaas 2/38) lost to South Africa 275/7 (Laura Wolvaardt 80, Mignon du Preez 52*; Harmanpreet Kaur 2/42) by three wickets. POTM: Mignon du Preez