All-round efforts of South African Skipper Dane van Niekerk and a blitz 92 from opener Lizelle Lee handed India their first defeat in the ICC Women World Cup in 2017. Besides, it was South Africa’s first victory against India in the World Cup in their 4th appearance.
South Africa, defending 273, their highest total against India in World Cup, restricted India to 38/1 at the end of the mandatory power play. After her initial success, Smriti Mandhana failed to fire in consecutive three matches. India lost Another Opener Punam Raut to Khaka on 22 in the 12th over. India banked their chase on skipper Mithali Raj and vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur to for the victory.
Dane van Niekerk brought herself into the attack in the 13th over. She claimed a unique record of 4/0 against West Indies, couple of days earlier. But against India, it was a different ball game. India batters have known for their abilities to tackle the spinner well. Mithali Raj who has come to the crease after the fall of Raut was yet to open her account.
Prior to that match Raj had got out 41 times to the spinners while scoring 29.067 runs per wicket more than that of against seamers. Out of 41 dismissals, 31 came against the right arm spinners. At the same time, she was 34 runs away from surpassing Charlotte Edwards to become the top scorer in ODI and 41 runs away to becoming the first women to score 6000 runs in ODI.
Deepti Sharma pushed the first ball of Niekerk to long on to collect a single. Raj was ready to face her counterpart. Niekerk put the ball on the off stump line. Raj, came forward to defend the ball. But to her astonishment, the ball didn’t turn much on the dry surface as she had expected. The ball kept her line to find the gap between bat and pad to knock her off stump. It was her first golden duck in ODI career.
In the 4th ball of her over Niekerk found Harmanpreet in front of the wicket. She like her senior expecting a legbreak, but again the ball failed to match the expectation of Kaur. Kaur lunges forward and blocks outside the line, the ball hit the front pad adjacent to the stumps and umpire Williams raises her finger. Niekerk picked up two wickets in her first over of the match.
Her one overturned the complexion of the match. From 12th to 20th over India lost 6 wickets while managed to score 18 runs. Out of those overs, South African skipper picked up 3 wickets in her 3 overs. Its because of Deepti Sharma’s 60 and a late assault by Jhulan’s unbeaten 43, India was able to cross 150 runs mark to avoid further humiliation. On a dry and mostly placid track, the South Africa captain used flight, drift and, for large parts, lack of turn, to finish with 4 for 22 off her 10 overs.
That spell was the full stop to India’s ambitions of pulling off the third-highest chase in Women’s ODIs. Niekerk’s 4/22 was the second-best bowling figure for South Africa against India in World Cups after Alicia Smith’s 4/19 in 2005. It was her 2nd 4th wicket haul against India, first in World Cup.
Earlier, Indian skipper Mithali Raj won the toss and decided to bowl first. Later she admitted that she was thinking of batting first but then people around her suggested to chase. India had chased down the 247 against the same opposition in the final of a quadrangular trophy just before the World Cup. India started off well when Sikha Pandey knocked down the stumps of Laura Wolvaardt.
But another opener Lizelle Lee started to fight back from another end. She not only survived the Indian attack but took the attack to the opposition. She and Trisha Chetty added 91 runs for the 2nd wicket. That gave South Africa a solid foundation upon which Portea middle-order pilled up runs. Lee scored 92 off 65 balls with 7 sixes before her demise against Harmanpreet Kaur.
After her fall, skipper Dane van Niekerk along with the lower batting order helped South Africa to reach their 2nd highest total in World Cup. Lee’s 92 was the highest individual score by a Protea against India in the World cup. Niekerk scored 57 off 66 balls with 7 fours. South Africa’s 115 run victory was their largest victory in term of run against India in World Cup and 3rd highest in World Cups.
Brief Score :
South Africa 273/9 (Lizelle Lee 92 , Dane van Niekerk 57, Shikha Pandey 3/40) defeated India 158/10 (Deepti Sharma 60, Jhulan Goswami 43*, Dane van Niekerk 4/22) by 115 runs.