Shafali Verma and Poonam Yadav helped India take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-match series by winning the fourth match. (Image credit: Twitter)
The consistent rains in Surat had threatened to make the India vs South Africa women's series a damp squib. The second and third matches were washed out and the wet outfield had reduced the fourth match into a 17-overs per side contest. However, the fourth match saw a 15-year-old star take centrestage and put on a fabulous display to signal the depth of talent in the Indian women's team. 15-year-old Shafali Verma, from Rohtak, smashed 46 and was well supported by Poonam Yadav's three wickets as India won the match by 51 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-match Twenty20 International series played at the Lalabhai Contractor stadium in Surat.
South Africa chose to bowl but their plan immediately backfired as Verma and Smriti Mandhana shared an aggressive opening stand. Verma was aggressive on Tumi Sekhukhune and she slammed two boundaries in her first over and she raised her aggression even further by hammering Sune Luus for a four and a six. When Mandhana fell to Nadine de Klerk, Verma neared her fifty by hammering Sekhukhune for a six but the bowler had her revenge in style.
Harmanpreet blasted a four and a six off Nonkululeko Mlaba as India kept up a superb rate of scoring. Jemimah Rodrigues was the key in the middle order and she ensured India did not lose momentum by hammering two consecutive fours off Ayabonga Khaka. India ended with 140/4 in their 17 overs and immediately, South Africa were facing an uphill task.
Lizelle Lee started out with two boundaries but she was run-out by Pooja Vastrakar. South Africa still tried to be aggressive and despite losing Laura Wolvaardt, the South Africans were still in with a chance at 60/2 in the ninth over. However, Poonam Yadav changed the entire complexion of the game yet again as she picked up three wickets in two overs. Poonam was given good support by Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma as the duo combined to take three wickets for 35 runs in seven overs.
South Africa never recovered from their trial by spin and they lost by 51 runs. The fifth and final game will be on October 4 at Surat before the action shifts to the three ODIs which will take place at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara.