India beat South Africa by 27 runs in the Tri-Series opener on Thursday in East London. South Africa had won the toss and opted to bowl first, and the decision proved right as the visitors were reduced to 69/5. Only Yastika Bhatia managed to score 35. Nevertheless, Deepti Sharma (33 off 23) and Amanjot Kaur (41 off 30) shared a 76 run stand for the sixth wicket to bail India out as they managed to post a total of 147/6. In reply, the Proteas women lost their openers early as they were reduced to 27/2. They managed to dig themselves out of hole but only to lose timely wickets, eventually ending up falling short by 27 runs.
Deepti blazed to 33 off 23 balls, hitting one four and one six while Amanjot hammered seven fours in her 41 not out after opener Yastika Bhatia scored 35 off 34 deliveries to help India Women after South Africa bowlers Nonkululeko Mlaba (2-15, Marizanne Kapp (1-30) and Ayabonga Khaka caused early trouble.
Deepti came to the fore once again during South Africa’s reply as she claimed three wickets for 30 runs as South Africa were soon reduced to 64/5 in the 12th over. They recovered a bit but could manage only 120/9 in 20 overs as they lost the tri-series opener by 27 runs.
Devika Vaidya claimed 2-19 off three overs while Rajeshwari Gayakwad (1-11), Sneh Rana (1-12) and Radha Yadav (1-17) were the other successful Indian bowlers in the match with the Indian spinners using the dry, slow surface in hot and humid conditions to their advantage to stifle South Africa innings.
Skipper Sune Luus top scored for South Africa Women with a 30-ball 29.
The day belonged to Deepti and Amanjot as they came together to rescue India. Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur was unwell and forced to sit out of the match and Smriti Mandana, leading the side in her absence, fell cheaply for seven runs. Though Yastika help one end going with watchful innings, Harleen Deol (8), Jemimah Rodrigues (0) and Devika Vaidya (9) were soon back in the pavilion as India slipped to 69/5.
The absence of Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh — both part of the U19 Women’s T20 World Cup — too was felt as the Indians also hampered the Indian progress. Yastika, opening the innings in the absence of Shafali, capitalised on an early life as she struck three fours and one six to keep the Indian innings going.
But Deepti and Amanjot provided the innings with the impetus that it needed badly as they raised 76 runs for the sixth wicket and set India on course for a defendable total. The spinners then got into the act and propelled India Women to victory.
India Women 147/6 in 20 overs (Yastika Bhatia 35, Deepti Sharma 33, Amanjot Kaur 41 not out; Nonkululeko Mlaba 2-15) beat South Africa Woman 120/9 in 20 overs (Sune Luus 29; Deepti Sharma 3-30, Devika Vaidya 2-19) by 27 runs.
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