JOHANNESBURG – Shabnim Ismail was the star of South Africa's five-wicket win over India in the third T20 in Johannesburg on Sunday, taking a first five-wicket haul in the format.
Ismail, 29, said her match-winning figures of 5/30 came through controlling and harnessing aggression.
“We had the right fielders in the right place and took our catches today,” she said. “We don't hang on to the negatives that much. We always look at the positives. Aggression is something that pumps me up, the fielders also pump me up. There is never a dull moment on the field.”
Ismail's excellent spell - the second best by any South African in the format, behind team-mate Sune Luus' 5/8 against Ireland in 2016 - limited India to 133 all out.
Only Smriti Mandhana (37) and captain Harmanpreet Kaur (48) found their feet in India's innings as star player Mithali Raj was dismissed early
Cheered on by a vociferous home crowd, South Africa chased down the total with an over to spare thanks to Dane van Niekerk (26), Luus (41), Chloe Tryon (34 from 15 balls) and Mignon du Preez (20).
The victory brought the series score line back to 2-1 and gives the hosts a chance of turning around the five-match series.
“I'm a little relieved,” said South Africa captain van Niekerk. “I couldn't watch for a bit there, but we know that Chloe Tryon can hit the ball a fair distance.
“I couldn't fault the bowlers today. It was a blessing in disguise after the first over that I could hold her [Ismail] back. We had to stick to our strengths and today we showcased our strengths really well.
“The crowd was amazing. It lifts out spirits, so I want to thank them for coming out and supporting us. We're very excited about the next game and hope we can rectify our mistakes. But I'm very happy with the side today.”
After convincing wins in the first two T20Is, Indian skipper Kaur was left to reflect on a rare disappointing performance by her side.
“I think our lower order collapsed today,” she said. “We got a good start but couldn't capitalise on the momentum. I think after getting a good start we need to utilise that.
“We need to come up with a good plan in the next game. We didn't play too much T20 in the last 15 months but we played well in the first two games. Smriti and Mithali played pretty much all the 20 overs in both the games so the rest of our batsmen didn't have that much of batting.
“This is an eye-opener for us. It was a good performance from our bowling side.”
African News Agency (ANA)