Anneke Bosch stars as Proteas beat India in opening Twenty20 international
CAPE TOWN – The Proteas Women's team glorious Indian summer continued in Lucknow on Saturday evening with a tense victory in the first T20I.
Having dominated the preceding five-match ODI series 4-1, Sune Luus's side took this momentum into the shorter format.
It enabled them to get over the line when the 131-run target was reduced to 10 required off the final 11 deliveries.
But such is the confidence in the Proteas Women's team dressingroom at the moment that the result was never really in doubt.
Anneke Bosch is certainly feeding off this energy as the all-rounder produced yet another Player of the Match performance. Having also picked also the award in the final ODI, she again shone with bat, ball and in the field.
"It feels like dejavu. I can't still believe I scored a 50 in the ODI's and now I have done it again in the T20s," Bosch said.
"Sune kept me calm and we had a simple plan to keep the run-rate below 7.5"
Her undefeated 66 off just 48 balls (9x4, 1x6) was the cornerstone of South Africa's run chase. The opener compiled a match-winning 90-run partnership with her skipper Luus (43 off 49 balls) after the early loss of the dangerous Lizelle Lee.
The pair never allowed the run-rate to get away from them and that even after Luus's dismissal, the target was still within reach.
Earlier, South Africa's spearhead Shabnim Ismail struck at both ends of the innings to restrict India from posting a really challenging total.
Ismail's first wicket was the chief scalp of Smitri Mandhana. The opener, who was leading the Indian T20 side in the absence of the injured Harmanpreet Kaur, had looked dangerous from the outset when she struck two consecutive boundaries in the first over off Nonkululeko Mlaba.
But Mandhana fell on her sword when she attempted to hit Ismail (3/14) over long-off, only to find a diving Bosch, who completed a brilliant catch.
With Bosch keeping the hosts in check during the middle period with the two big wickets of Harleen Deol (52 off 47 balls, 6x4) and Jemimah Rodrigues (30 off 27 balls, 3x4), Ismail returned at the death to close out the innings.
Her experience shone through as she picked up both Richa Ghosh and Arundhati Reddy off the final two deliveries of the innings.
"They had a partnership in the middle that looked threatening but I thought we did well to break that partnership. They were well on their way to a score in the region of 140-150," captain Luus said.
"This is a high scoring ground and we were happy to restrict them to 130."
India: 130/6 (Deol 52, Rodrigues 30, Ismail 3/14, Bosch 2/11)
South Africa: 133/2 (Bosch 66*, Luus 43, Arundhati 1/20)
South Africa won by 8 wickets