Pooja Vastrakar, Smriti Mandhana Set Up India Women’s Series-Levelling T20I Win Over South Africa

Pacer Pooja Vastrakar ran riot with a career-best bowling show of 4/13 before Smriti Mandhana shone with the bat with an unbeaten half century, as India thrashed South Africa by 10 wickets in the third and final women’s T20 International to level the series 1-1 in Chennai on Tuesday. Left-arm spinner Radha Yadav also chipped in with a fine performance of 3/6 from her three over to help India shoot South Africa out for a mere 84 in 17.1 overs after opting to bowl. India easily chased down the small target of 85 with 55 balls to spare and without losing any wicket with opening batters Mandhana and Shafali Verma remaining not out on 54 and 27 respectively.

Mandhana hit the winning runs — a six off Nadine de Klerk — as India reached 88 for no loss in 10.5 overs. This was India’s biggest victory over South Africa in this format, both in terms of wickets (10) and balls to spare (55).

Mandhana, who was at her magnificent best towards the end of the run chase, hit a six in the 10th over and followed it up with two fours and a maximum in the next to end the contest quickly. This was her 24th T20I half century.

The Indian opening duo played smart cricket, managing 40 for no loss at the end of the powerplay, with the visitors using five different bowlers in this phase but without any success Mandhana and Verma later went for the big shots to end the contest quickly.

In all, Mandhana struck eight fours and two sixes from the 40 balls she faced while Verma scored three fours from 25 balls.

South Africa had won the first match by 12 runs before the second T20I was washed out on Saturday.

Earlier, only three South African batters managed to score in double-digit figures, with Tazmin Brits (20 off 23 balls) being their top scorer.

Openers Laura Wolvaardt (9 off 9 balls) and Brits could only manage 19 runs for the first wicket.

As Shreyanka Patil dismissed Wolvaardt in the fourth over, the pair of Brits and Marizanne Kapp (10 off 8 balls) added 11 runs for the second wicket.

Interestingly, the Indians used four different bowlers in the opening four overs.

Kapp fell in the fifth over, as she became Vastrakar’s 50th wicket in the format. Next to go for South Africa was Brits with Deepti Sharma grabbing her prized wicket in the eighth over, as the scoreboard read 45 for three.

The same over saw Chloe Tryon being dropped by Deepti, as the slew of poor fielding from the hosts continued in the third straight contest.

Yet, the visitors struggled to get a proper partnership going, having dominated with the bat in the previous two outings.

They lost their next two wickets at the score of 61 in the 11th over, thanks to Vastrakar exploiting the wicket.

Halfway through the innings, it was evident that the track did not have much for the batters, with spongy bounce and mild turn.

Also, the rain in the city in the past couple of days had made the wicket moist, leading to Vastrakar getting mild swings through her medium pace, which indeed troubled the South Africans.

Things simply went worse for South Africa thereon as they lost the remaining five wickets for just 23 runs.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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