Deepti Sharma's figures of 4-3-8-3 helped India beat South Africa by 11 runs in the first T20I in Surat. (Image credit: Twitter)
In Twenty20 Internationals, bowling a maiden over is a rare feat. However, Deepti Sharma of India created a unique and historic feat in the Twenty20 International between India and South Africa at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium in Surat on Tuesday. Sharma, the offbreak bowler, ended with incredible figures of 4-3-8-3 as India won a close match by 11 runs against South Africa. The series is part of the build-up for the women's cricket team ahead of the Women's World T20 which will be played in Australia in February. Deepti was the star in what was a polished bowling performance from India in their defence of 131.
Deepti bowled the third over of the innings and she started off with a maiden over. However, in her second over, she was brilliant by removing Tazmin Britts and Nadine de Klerk in the same over. With figures of 2-2-0-2, Deepti was taken off the attack only for her to return in grand style in the 14th over and bowl a wicket-maiden, having taken the scalp of Shabnim Ismail to leave South Africa reeling at 73/7. Deepti bowled the 19th over when South Africa were going for the attack but conceded just eight runs which did not include a single boundary.
Deepti became the first Indian bowler and ninth overall to bowl three or more maidens in a Twenty20 International game. Carol Namugenyi of Uganda, Kayleen Green of Namibia, Constancia Kauripeke of Namibia, Anam Amin of Pakistan, Tasmeen Granger and Anesu Mushangwe of Zimbabwe and Margueritte Vumiliya of Rwanda are the others to have bowled three maidens. However, the only bowler in history to bowl all four maidens is Perice Mamunya of Tanzania and she achieved this record in the game against Mali women in the Twenty20 clash in Gahanga International Cricket Stadium, Kigali on June 22, 2019.
Deepti's efforts ensured India continued to build momentum for the World T20 after South Africa chose to bowl at Surat. Ismail got rid of Shafali Vaidya in the first over. Smriti Mandhana looked in good touch but she also fell for a quickfire 21. It required a 46-run stand between Harmanpreet Kaur and Deepti to help India cross 100 but India lost their way in the death overs, managing just 25 runs in four overs.
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In response, South Africa never got going against the spin of Deepti and Poonam Yadav. However, Mignon du Preez kept the fight going for South Africa. du Preez got going with two boundaries off Poonam Yadav but she gave India some nervous moments with a six and a four off Radhav Yadav. When du Preez launched Harmanpreet for her second six, South Africa had staged a fightback. du Preez smashed her fifty and in the final over, with South Africa needing 18 and with Radha Yadav bowling, she went for the attack. du Preez launched the first ball for a six but was stumped off the fourth ball and India managed to hold their nerve.
The second match of the five-game series will be played on September 26. After the end of the five-match series, the teams will play three ODIs in Vadodara.