A 144-run opening stand and a magnificent bowling performance ensured South Africa didn’t leave their T20I series against India empty handed.
Everything the Proteas touched turned to gold, starting with the toss, which captain Sune Luus won, electing to bat before playing the supporting role in a record stand, the fourth-highest by a South African pair in T20Is, and the highest by any team against India.
Lizelle Lee was first out, having blitzed 84 off 47 balls with 15 fours, the most by a South African woman in a T20I innings, with the opening stand higher than any team total from either side all series.
Luus made 62 before being stumped, while Mignon du Preez chipped in with 13 off seven to lift South Africa to 175/3.
Such a total seemed surely beyond India, and as they slipped to 13/6 early on, it seemed a historic thrashing might be on the cards. Shabnim Ismail claimed two wickets in two balls in her second over to start the rot, winkling out the precocious pair of Shafali Verma and Jemimah Rodrigues
Ayabonga Khaka then claimed the key wicket of Harmanpreet Kaur, bowled for just 1, before Nadine de Klerk got in on the act, dismissing Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma in the space of three balls. The procession continued as Anne Bosch had Taniya Bhatiya caught by Luus, before Veda Krishnamurthy and Arundhati Reddy gave the scoreline some respectability.
They added 49 before Krishnamurthy was pinned lbw by Bosch, and another collapse ensued, de Klerk removing the other set batter and Nondumiso Shangase finishing things off in a hurry, claiming 2/0 in three balls as the Proteas recorded a 105-run win.
It was India’s second lowest T20I score of all time and South Africa’s third-largest T20I winning margin, and though a 3-1 series result was a fair reflection of their dominance, it at least took some of the gloss off, and gave the tourists something to cling to heading into the ODI series between the sides.
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