The Indian women's team scripted history on Saturday (February 24) by beating South Africa women in the fifth and final T20I. The 54-run victory over Proteas women saw Harmanpreet Kaur and company clinching the T20I series by a stunning margin of 3-1.
After being put into bat by South African skipper Dane van Niekerk, India lost in-form opener Smriti Mandhana cheaply for 13 as she tried to go for a maximum. However, veteran batswoman Mithali Raj (62 off 50 balls) along with rookie Jemimah Rodrigues (44 off 34 balls) steadied the sheep with a 98-run stand for the second wicket.
In the slog overs, the swashbuckling pair of Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy balls) helped India reach a competitive total of 166/4. While skipper Harmanpreet scored 27 off 17 balls with one boundary and a couple of towering sixes, Krishnamurthy made 8 off 6 balls.
In reply, the South African innings faltered from the very start and they kept on losing wickets at regular intervals to get bowled out for 112 in 18 overs. For India, Shikha Pandey, Rumeli Dhar and Rajeshwari Gayakwad scalped three wickets each while Poonam Yadav chipped in with a wicket. Owing to her consistent show throughout the series, Mithali Raj was adjudged 'Player of the Match' as well as 'Player of the Series'.
India had won the first T20I by 7 wickets and the second by 9 wickets before the hosts fought back and won the third game by 5 wickets. The fourth T20I produced no result due to persistent rain in the second half of the match.
It is worth mentioning here that the Women in Blue recorded a double series win on their South Africa tour. Earlier this month, they have claimed the three-match ODI series 2-1.
Seeing their consistent run throughout the tour and stellar rise since last year’s Women’s World Cup, the Twitteratis were in full of praise for the Indian women’s team.
Here are some of the tweets:
Can't have more emphatic victory than that gained by Indian women. Shabash! Should spur the men's team to finish tour on winning note too— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) February 24, 2018
This series win, in both odis and T20 games should give such a big boost to women's cricket. Hope a young girl was inspired today— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 24, 2018
Series win in both ODI and T20i for Indian Women. Hope this leads to bigger and better things....and to more cricket for the girls. #INDWvSAW— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) February 24, 2018