India women team triumphed South African women in both ODI and T20I series, despite a six month layoff. India women won the three match ODI series 2-1 and the five match T20I series 3-1, adding to the joy of Indian cricket fans.
India women team won the final T20I thanks to a fifty from Mithali Raj and a quickfire 37 by 17-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues. Rodrigues earned up her maiden call up to the Indian senior team, but only got a chance to play in the final T20I match.
Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur praised Rodrigues by saying, "We just decided that if we lose an early wicket then we can send her (at No. 3). Basically she is an opener but we have Smriti and Mithali and we can't just tell them to sit and give her a chance. That is the reason we decided that if we lose an early wicket we can send her and give her a chance to do well. In the last game when she came, she had a lot of pressure on her because we lost two early wickets but today was a good chance to promote her and we just gave her a chance and she executed very well.”
"She has done really well in the domestic level and that gave her confidence to do well in the international level. I know she is very young but we know what she is capable of doing for the Indian team. She is young and we do need young players in our team who can do better in international cricket," the skipper added.
Harmanpreet further said that the T20I team is still working out the best combination for the upcoming World T20, "As a team we are looking for young girls who can come and perform for the country so that we can build our team (for the future). If we talk about a 50-over game our team is quite settled now but in T20s we're still working on our team and that's the reason we are giving chances to young girls and build our team for the T20 World Cup. Of course we don't want to rush her. We just want to give a chance to all the girls and we just want them to perform so that we can build a team. We don't want to rush on anything because when we rush it's always hard and difficult to decide anything."
Harmanpreet lauded the efforts of Player of the series Mithali Raj, who won her third Player of the match award in the 5th T20I, saying, "She's the most experienced player in the side and whenever she performs, we always put up a good total on the board and today also she did really well. Her experience always gives us a lot of confidence to do well in international cricket. Hopefully, she plays for two-three more years.”
"Today the wicket was very different, it was a bit low and when someone was bowling a bit quicker it was easy to bat on. When I was batting, they bowled up to me with full pace it was easy for batting. When they were bowling short and slower deliveries, it was hard to play. After my batting, I passed this message to my bowlers so that they can do that. I think the bowlers really read the wicket and bowled according to the wicket. That gave us a good and positive result," Harmanpreet mentioned about her 17 ball 27 run innings.