Off-spinner Deepti Sharma helped India Women secure an 11-run win over South Africa in Surat. Photo: @BCCIWomen on twitter

SURAT, India – A career-best spell of 4-3-8-3 from off-spinner Deepti Sharma helped India Women secure an 11-run win over South Africa at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium in Surat, India, on Tuesday.

In front of a raucous crowd, and defending a modest target of 131, Deepti held her nerve superbly, starting with three consecutive maidens, and conceding only eight runs in the pivotal penultimate over of the chase.

Though Mignon du Preez battled hard for her half-century to keep her side in the hunt, in the end, she was left with too much to do, with just two of her compatriots making it into double figures.

When she was stumped off the fourth ball of the 20th over, the Proteas were done for.

While Deepti was the star, Shikha Pandey also impressed, finishing with figures of 2/18 and conceding just one run off her final over. 

All this after South Africa had plundered 18 off the first over of the chase to kick-start their pursuit.

That assault reduced the required rate to under a run a ball, though were it not for the efforts of Harmanpreet Kaur, India might not have made it to three figures.

After 15-year-old debutant Shafali Verma fell for a duck in the first over of the game, and Smriti Mandhana followed not long after for a brisk 21, it was left to Kaur to anchor the innings.

Through partnerships with Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti, the India skipper pushed her side past 100, but after she fell with four overs and five wickets in hand, her team could only add a further 25 runs.

Shabnim Ismail was the pick of the Proteas bowlers, finishing with 3/26, but it was another bowler, Deepti, who would have the final say.

India: 130/8 (20 overs)
South Africa: 119 (in 19.5 overs)
Result: India Women win by 11 runs. 

African News Agency (ANA)