South Africa register a thrilling win in the second T20I against India and clinch the series 2-0 with one game in hand. With the T20I series already out of their hand, Team India will try to avoid a whitewash and end the series on a positive note when they play against South Africa in the third and final T20I match in Lucknow on Tuesday, March 23.

After losing the ODI series 1-4, things became worse for the Indian team when their regular T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur got injured. Although stand-in captain Smriti Mandhana led the team well, the team missed a power-hitter in the form of Kaur and eventually, South Africa took an unassailable 0-2 lead in the series.

It is also noteworthy that, this is the first time that the Indian team has lost a T20I series against South Africa. South Africa, who had come after a successful series at home against Pakistan, completely outplayed the host.

However, this was India’s first international series after more than a year. While they started playing with an aim to shrug off their rustiness and prepare for the upcoming ODI World Cup, which will take place in less than 12 months, their performance showed in which areas they need to work on.

For India, the only positive is the form of batters’ who are a little bit in form. While Harleen Deol scored her maiden fifty in the first game and anchored India’s innings, it was Shafali Verma alongside Deol who provided the much-needed foundation in the second game. However, after their dismissals, Richa Ghosh continued to destroy the bowling and her onslaught at the end took the team over the 150-run mark.

With a massive total on board, Team India were confident to level the series and they looked on the right path when Rajeshwari Gaikawad removed the in-form Anneke Bosch very early in their chase. The dangerous Lizelle Lee smashed a blistering fifty and was involved in two crucial partnerships as well, one with Sune Luus and then with Laura Wolvaardt.

But the total wasn’t enough as Laura kept her calm and chased down the total in the final ball. A very substandard fielding effort from Richa Ghosh and a few others as well as spinners’ struggle to take wickets cost them the game. Moreover, their key all-rounder Deepti Sharma has been out of form – be it with the bat or ball alongside Smriti Mandhana, who has failed to score big in the series so far.

“It is a bitter pill to swallow,” Smriti Mandhana told after the loss. “Thought 80 per cent of the time it was our game but we could not close it out in the end. Lots of things to learn from the game. Probably the way we fielded, I don’t think we deserved to win the game. We have to work on our fielding and probably improve our fielding standards.”

Although Harleen Deol and Shefali Verma has been among the runs in both the games, the inconsistent performances of Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and others did not help India’s cause as well. As far as bowing is concerned, Arundhati Reddy has been trying her best but the team missed the experience of Shikha Pandey. On the other hand, their key spinner Poonam Yadav is completely out of form and failed to manage a single wicket.

However, Rada Yadav, who replaced Poonam in the second game, showed the intent and likely to play in the third game too.

South Africa, on the other hand, have been going stronger with each game in the series. There seemed to be no loose end apart from a few missed chance from the keeper Sinalo Jafta. Be it batters or bowlers they have been in red hot form. The pace attack looked formidable with the leadership of Shabnim Ismail whereas Sune Luus and Nonkululeko Mlaba have been doing good with spin as well. And, they will certainly look for a series whitewash when the last time they will take on India. For India, they will try to win the final game in their rather forgettable series as well.

Squads:

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Nuzhat Parveen (wicket-keeper), Ayushi Soni, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Mansi Joshi, Monica Patel, C. Prathyusha, Simran Dil Bahadur

South Africa: Sune Luus (Captain), Ayabonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Sinalo Jafta, Tasmin Britz, Marizanne Kapp, Nondumiso Shangase, Lizelle Lee, Anneke Bosch, Faye Tunnicliffe, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Mignon du Preez, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Tumi Sekhukhune

Leave a Reply