NEW DELHI: The Harmanpreet Kaur-led Indian team lost a low-scoring summit clash of the T20I Tri-series against hosts South Africa by five wickets at Buffalo Park in East London on Thursday.
A poor batting display led the Indian team to post a below par 109 for 4 in their allotted 20 overs after Harmanpreet opted to bat first. They lost both their openers – Smriti Mandhana (0) and Jemimah Rodrigues (11) – early and it pushed them to back foot.
As it happened: India vs South Africa
Top-scorer Harleen Deol, 46 off 56, and skipper Harmanpreet (21 off 22) steadied the innings and added 48 runs for the third wicket. But the duo too failed to accelerate the scoring rate.
South Africa too had a shaky start in their run chase and were down to 21/3 in 6.3 overs. India looked in good position when they sent half of the hosts’ batters back in the 14th over, leaving them struggling at 66 for 5 in 13.1 overs.
But Chloe Tryon (57 not out off 32 balls) counter-attacked the Indian bowlers, hitting two sixes and six fours, to chase down the 110-run target with two overs to spare.
🚨 RESULT | #MomentumProteas WIN BY 5 WICKETSChloe Tryon’s maiden T20i half-century was the glue in the… https://t.co/bWOrrLnuNG
— Proteas Women (@ProteasWomenCSA) 1675353127000
What made Tryon’s innings extra special was the degree of difficulty all other batters encountered due to the slowness of the track.
Indian spinners Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Sneh Rana tried their best to offset a baffling batting approach by Harleen but the target was never a defendable one despite South Africa’s poor start.
On a pitch where the ball wasn’t coming on to the bat, Tryon did exactly the opposite of what Deol did. The Indians paid a hefty price for the huge number of dot balls consumed by Deol.
“Body is fine. It will get better with rest. We have got some good performances. Unfortunately today we were not able to bat the way we wanted and the bowlers did well,” India captain Harmanpreet Kaur said later.
.@Deepti_Sharma06 was the leading wicket-taker in the Tri-Series, scalping 9⃣ wickets and bagged the Player of the… https://t.co/b6AmKcVV7w
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) 1675354897000
Tryon plonked her front-foot and exhibited power hitting of highest order, repeatedly targeting the arc between square leg and mid-wicket.
In the end, the victory came way more easily than one had thought as the stocky Proteas middle-order batter got a lucky six when Pooja Vastrakar dropped a dolly at deep square leg boundary to gift the opposition easy winning runs.
Earlier, Deol’s painstaking 46 off 56 balls on a slow track did more harm than good as India managed only 109 despite losing four wickets.
With stylish Mandhana dismissed for nought and skipper Harmanpreet also back in the dug-out just when she was getting set, Deol’s effort was a below par one as she played a huge number of dot balls which increased the pressure on Deepti Sharma (16 not out off 14 balls), who also couldn’t do much of the heavy-lifting.
A maiden T20I half-century and what a way to bring it up Chloe Tryon 👏#SAWvINDW #AlwaysRising #BePartOfIt https://t.co/VjJKIjbNzf
— Proteas Women (@ProteasWomenCSA) 1675352746000
Worse still, there was no effort from India to force the pace and Deol was happy playing the sheet anchor till she lost her wicket in the final over.
For South Africa, left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba (2/16 in 4 overs) was brilliant in the Powerplay as a frustrated Mandhana was bowled having failed to open her account in previous seven deliveries. She charged down the track and played all over a delivery that disturbed the leg stump.
Other opener Rodrigues (11 off 18 balls) and Deol couldn’t get off the blocks against Mlaba and seasoned pacer Shabnim Ismail (0/9 in 3 overs).
In between the South African duo, they bowled 25 dot balls with India scoring only 19 runs in six Powerplay overs.
Both Rodrigues and Harmanpreet were out when they were beaten by an away turn from Mlaba and leg-spinner Sune Luus with keeper Sinalo Jafta affecting smart stumping.
The ball often didn’t come on to the bat and the Indian batters didn’t have requisite pace on deliveries to work with.
Such was their plight that the boundary count in 20 overs was not even in double digits. It was just nine. The total dot ball count was 57 (9.3 overs cumulatively) with the most consumed by Deol.
(With inputs from PTI)