Proteas Women beat India by 6 wickets to clinch T20 series
JOHANNESBURG – Laura Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee propelled South Africa to another historic series win, in a contest that went down to the last ball in Lucknow on Sunday evening
Having tied the scores off the penultimate ball of the match, Wolvaardt, who’d reached fifty, got an inside edge off the final delivery bowled by Arundhati Reddy, with the ball trickling towards short fine leg where it was mis-fielded allowing Nadine de Klerk, stumbling to make her ground, to get home successfully.
It was an ugly end to a contest in which the quality of batting far outstripped the bowling and fielding of both teams. Wolvaardt finished unbeaten on 53 off just 39 balls, an innings that wasn’t as fluent as those for which she is known, but her fighting spirit and ability to find different ways to score, showed another part to the 21 year old’s game.
“I didn’t start the innings the way I would have liked, I put pressure on myself,” said Wolvaardt, who was named player of the match. “I knew the outfield was fast, so we would be able to get back into it.”
Lizelle Lee’s 70, was very much in keeping with how she plays. The opener made smart use of the sweep, while her hitting down the ground was another feature of an excellent innings that gave South Africa the perfect start, in pursuit of a hefty target. Her knock included 11 fours and a six and came off just 45 balls.
Lee was dropped twice, by 17 year old Richa Gosh, on 30 and then 60, misses that would prove costly.
In fact the two teams matched each other in terms of the poor quality of their fielding.
India was allowed to get as much as they did because South Africa’s ground fielding was not of the standard the players demand of themselves, nor what they have set on what has been an outstanding tour.
There were too many miss—fields and a costly drop by Anneke Bosch of Indian opener Shafali Verma, when the big-hitting opener had 26. It was a bad error, with the 17 year old going on to make 47, providing India with the kind of platform to post a total in excess of 150.
There were more errors in the field from South Africa including wicketkeeper Sinalo Jaftha dropping a sitter off Shabnim Ismael’s bowling in the last over, which went for four, that won’t have pleased the coaching staff.
Nevertheless, that South Africa could make that many mistakes and still come out on top says a lot about the side’s resilience. It was the Proteas’s first T20 series win against India in India, coming on the back of their first One-Day International series win in the country last week. Those are noteworthy achievements especially in light of the fact they are missing skipper Dane van Nierkerk and the experienced Chloe Tryon, while for Sunday’s encounter they also rested Marizanne Kapp
“The confidence levels are where we want them,” said captain, Sune Luus. “The girls are backing themselves and playing fearless cricket.”
The third and final match of the series will be played on Tuesday.
South Africa 159/4
South Africa won by 6 wickets