Deepti Sharma © Gallo Images
The Momentum Proteas were outclassed by India in their Women’s T20 Tri Series opener, falling to a disappointing 27-run defeat at Buffalo Park in East London on Thursday night.
It was a good all-round effort from the Indian team, but Deepti Sharma was particularly impressive, scoring 33 with the bat and picking up 3-30 with the ball to be the key player in her side’s comfortable win.
The Proteas had won the toss and chosen to field, with India reaching 147 for six in their 20 overs, before the hosts’ chase got off to a rocky start.
Star opener Laura Wolvaardt (6) popped a return catch back to Sharma in the second over as they slipped to 9 for one.
New batter Marizanne Kapp (22) looked to play positively from the start, cracking a four and a six in the third over bowled by Anjali Sarvani, with 12 coming off it.
But in the fifth over Anneke Bosch (2), who had struggled to get the ball away in the nine she faced, sent a catch straight to backward point leaving them on 27 for two.
Kapp and captain Sune Luus (29) attempted to build a platform for them to attack from in the second half of the innings, as they shared in a 27-run third wicket stand off 34 balls, but just as they were getting into a decent position, Kapp hit the ball straight down long-off’s throat off the bowling of Devika Vaidya.
Chloe Tryon, 26 off 20 balls (4×4), joined Luus at the crease and a good partnership between them was vitally important in getting the Proteas close to their target.
But that didn’t materialize as in the 12th over Luus was disastrously run out while ball-watching when Tryon set off for a quick single, and Delmi Tucker was bowled for a first-ball duck as they crashed to 64 for five.
Tryon and Nadine de Klerk (16) tried to get their side back into the game with a 39-run sixth wicket stand, but once Tryon was trapped LBW by Radha Yadav in the 17th over, the game was basically up, as the Proteas limped to the end of the innings on 120 for nine.
Sharma with 3-30 from her four overs was the pick of the bowlers, while Vaidya with 2-19 backed her up well.
At the start of the game Amanjot Kaur and Sharma helped India set the Proteas a tough winning target.
Kaur stroked her way to an unbeaten 41 off 30 balls (7×4), while Sharma struck 33 off 23 balls (1×4, 1×6) as the pair shared in a vitally important 76-run sixth wicket stand to dig their side out of a difficult position and post a good score in the end.
Opener Yastika Bhatia also made an important contribution at the top of the order, scoring 35 off 34 balls (3×4, 1×6) during a difficult start for her side.
The Indian innings got off to a poor start as Smriti Mandhana (7) miscued a shot to Tryon at mid-off, off the bowling of Ayabonga Khaka in the third over with the score 14 for one, and they should have lost a second wicket two balls later, but Bhatia was dropped on two.
They inched to 29 for one at the end of the powerplay, before they were reduced to 34 for three in the seventh over as Harleen Deol (8) was run out by a direct hit from Khaka, and Jemima Rodrigues was caught for a duck down the leg side by keeper Sinalo Jafta off the bowling of Nonkululeko Mlaba.
Bhatia then tried to steady the innings a bit, before taking aim at Masabata Klaas in the ninth over cracking her for a four and a six, but fell in the next as she missed a ball from spinner Tucker, with it bouncing off her pads onto the wickets, with the score 62 for four.
India continued to struggle and found themselves in trouble on 69 for five at the end of the 12th over after Mlaba had Vaidya (9) caught by a diving Tucker to put the Proteas well on top.
But this brought Kaur to the crease to join Sharma and they set about rebuilding the innings with their superb partnership.
They helped crunch 54 runs off the last five overs of the innings, with each over in that period, bar the last from Kapp, going for double figures.
Sharma was unlucky to fall off the penultimate ball of the innings, hitting Kapp to Khaka at mid-off, but by then they were in a solid position.
MOMENTUM PROTEAS: Anneke Bosch, Laura Wolvaardt, Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus (capt), Chloe Tryon, Delmi Tucker, Nadine de Klerk, Sinalo Jafta (wk), Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Nonkululeko Mlaba.
INDIA WOMEN: Smriti Mandhana (capt), Yastika Bhatia (wk), Harleen Deol, Jemimah Rodrigues, Devika Vaidya, Deepti Sharma, Amanjot Kaur, Sneh Rana, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Anjali Sarvani.