Indian women pay price for poor fielding, lose to South Africa in third T20

Riding on some poor fielding from India women and their own powerful hits over the boundary, South Africa coasted to a five-wicket win in the third T20 here at the Wanderers to keep the five-match series alive. India had won the first two games to get the headstart. However, the Protea ladies first restricted India to 133 on the back of a five-wicket haul from Player-of-the-Match medium-pacer Shabnim Ismail and then clobbered the India bowlers to overhaul the target in exactly 19 overs.

Sune Luus made 41 off 34 deliveries while skipper Dane van Niekerk (26) and Mignon Du Preez (20) made important contributions too. But it was Chloe Tryon’s 34 off 15 balls (with two massive sixes and four boundaries) that saw them past the finish line after some nervy moments that were of their own making. India would be disappointed with their fielding, a department where they were inconsistent. Even as Veda Krishnamurthy took an outstanding catch and Smriti Mandhana made an athletic save at the boundary, pulling a ball that looked like going for a six, back into play, there were other fielding lapses, including dropped catches that let the hosts canter to a total that never looked very challenging at the outset.

Earlier, in front of near-empty stands, the Indian women’s team wasted a great start to end with 133. The India women’s team folded in 17.5 overs.

After losing Mithali Raj early, caught behind, Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur built a 55-run partnership. While the two batswomen were at the crease, it looked like India would get to a very strong, match-winning total. Mandhana looked the more aggressive of the two during her stay, hammering five fours and a six in her 24-ball stay. However, just as she looked good for a half-century, she was caught at deep mid-wicket for 37, off the bowling of leg-spinner Dane van Niekerk.

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Veda Krishnamurthy and Harmanpreet added 38 runs. However, once Harmanpreet, India suffered meltdown, losing the next seven wickets for just 40 runs.

Right-arm pacer Ismael was the pick of the home bowlers, taking five for 30 in four overs. She ran through the middle and lower order. The South Africa women matched their male counterparts on the field, pulling off stunning catches. Suune Luus took a stunning catch at wide mid-on much to the amazement of the small crowd.

Brief Scores: India 133 all out in 17.5 overs (S Mandhana 37, H Kaur 48, S Ismail 5/30) lost to South Africa 134/5 in 19 overs (S Luus 41, C Tyron 34, P Vastrakar 2/21)

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