Harmanpreet Kaur contributed a match-winning 34 off 32 balls and took a key wicket as India defeated South Africa by five wickets to take a 3-0 lead in the series. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
India women cricket team's spinners, led by Radha Yadav's 3/23 and superb spells from Deepti Sharma and Poonam Yadav restricted South Africa to 98/8. Despite losing some quick wickets, Harmanpreet Kaur held firm and smashed an unbeaten 34 as India crossed the line by five wickets to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series at the Lalabhai Contractor stadium in Surat on Thursday.
None of South Africa's batters could capitalise on a good start provided by the openers, with Lizelle Lee and Sune Luus stitching a solid 23-run stand in five overs. Lee, in particular, looked in aggressive touch with two fours off Deepti Sharma. However, when Radha Yadav and Poonam Yadav got the wickets of Lee and Luus in successive overs, South Africa lost total momentum.
Laura Wolvaardt and Nadine de Klerk tried to break the shackles with a four each off Pooja Vastrakar. Woolvardt, who plays for the Brisbane Heat in the Women's Big Bash League, smashed two fours off Radha Yadav. However, Harmanpreet Kaur got rid of Wolvaardt for 17 and Radha got her second by getting de Klerk out for 11. Anne Bosch tried to get South Africa past hundred with a couple of boundaries but when she fell for 11 to Radha Yadav, South Africa managed stumbled. Deepti Sharma got two wickets in the final over and South Africa ended on 98/8.
Shafali Verma started off with a couple of fours but she fell to Shabnim Ismail. Smriti Mandhana's poor run continued when she fell to Ayabonga Khaka for 7. India had some nervous moments when Luus got the wicket of Jemimah Rodrigues but Harmanpreet Kaur and Deepti Sharma got India closer with a couple of boundaries.
Deepti Sharma and Veda Krishnamurthy fell but Harmanpreet sealed the deal with a four off Ayabonga Khaka as India took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the six-match series. India and South Africa both agreed to play two extra Twenty20 Internationals after two games were abandoned without a ball being bowled in Surat. Thus, the five-match series has become a six-match series and the final match will take place on October 4. The ODIs will start from October 9 and they will take place at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara.