The first ever international game at Surat’s Lalbhai Contractor stadium went the way of India’s Women as they beat their South African counterparts by 11 runs earlier this evening. Here are our talking points from the clash.
Fantastic Deepti: Deepti Sharma turned this game on its head with her wonderful a spell of 4-3-8-3. Her first three overs were all maidens and she also picked up the wickets of Tasmine Brits, Nadine de Klerk and Shabnim Ismail. Essentially brought India back into the game after Pooja Vastrakar had gone for 18 in the opening over.
Dane van Niekerk sorely missed: South Africa’s women had a great chance to win this game, having initially restricted India to an under-par score of 130/8, and then scoring 18 runs off the first over of their innings. Unfortunately, their batsmen came a cropper- only three crossed double digits, and one of them was veteran Mignon du Preez, who effectively scored half of their runs (59 off 43). It was a game where they missed regular captain Dane van Niekerk and even all-rounder Marizanne Kapp and the hard hitting Chloe Tryon as well.
India’s women still dependent on their “big three”: Much like their male counterparts with Dhawan, Rohit and Kohli, India’s women are also heavily reliant on the trio of Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur. They’re prone to middle-order collapses, as has been demonstrated numerous times in the recent past. Kaur, Mandhana and Rodrigues accounted for nearly two-thirds of India’s runs today, but the middle order was unable to take them to 140-150, which looked very gettable at one stage.
The hosts also gave a debut to 15 year old Shafali Verma. Unfortunately for the teenager, she was up against the experienced Ismail, and was out for a four ball duck, with Tumi Sekhukhune taking a fantastic catch at mid on.
Fantastic crowd in Surat: There was a fantastic crowd in Surat today for the game, with several thousand fans said to be in attendance and barely an empty seat available, with people even crammed on to the rooftops. It augurs very well for the future of the women’s game.
Poor camerawork: In the sixth over of South Africa’s chase, Shikha Pandey thought she had Du Preez caught behind, but unfortunately for her, there wasn’t a single camera angle available to clearly check whether wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia had taken the catch or not. It’s great to have women’s games telecasted on television, but the technological aspects must be taken care of too- this is pretty much a given in the men’s version.