Pooja Vastrakar’s Heroics Lead India to Series-Leveling Victory Over South Africa in the 3rd T20I

Pooja Vastrakar’s outstanding bowling performance at the T20I in Chennai, when she claimed 4 wickets for just 13 runs, led India to an overwhelming 10-wicket victory over South Africa.

The visitors, who had hit previous high scores of 187 and 189, collapsed miserably and were dismissed for just 84 runs.

Pooja Vastrakar’s Heroics Lead India to Series-Leveling Victory Over South Africa in the 3rd T20I
Radha Yadav and Pooja Vastrakar picked up 7/20 between them. Photo Credit: BCCI

South Africa 84 (Brits 20, Vastrakar 4-13) lost to India 85 for 0 (Mandhana 54*, Shafali 27*) by 10 wickets.

The visitors crumbled for 84 to all but give up the game halfway through on the same surface where they made 189 and 177. With Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma building on Pooja Vastrakar’s outstanding performance—she finished with a career-best 4 for 13—India’s chase was a formality as they finished in just 10.5 overs to tie the series.

After India decided to field, Laura Wolvaardt and Marizanne Kapp were out early, attempting to create strokes in the powerplay. However, Tazmin Brits, who had just scored two fifties in a row, seemed to have settled down and picked up the tempo when she hit two boundaries off Shreyanka Patil in the sixth over. However, in her attempt to accelerate, she was caught by Harmapreet Kaur’s outstanding catch at mid-off, giving Deepti Sharma a wicket. In 7.4 overs, South Africa was at 45 for 3.

If Deepti had held onto a return opportunity given by Chloe Tryon, two balls after the Brits were out of the game, she may have taken a second wicket. Tryon was spared by the angle in the ninth over of the innings, which came after she had played all around a full-blooded inswinger and almost avoided being leg before wicket by Arundhati Reddy. A few overs later, Reddy would finally win the head-to-head with a hard-length delivery that Tryon skewed to point.

Also Read: India’s Triumph Over South Africa Sealed by Rana’s 10-Wicket Masterclass

Vastrakar made her mark on the match between Tryon’s wicket and the LBW reprieve with a game-changing over that saw South Africa move from 57 for 3 in 10 overs to 61 for 5 in 11. As Anneke Bosch moved over, she caught her with a length ball that zoomed in to trap in her front. After getting threaded behind point for a boundary off the previous delivery, it was a great comeback. Vastrakar got Nadine de Klerk to chop on with a longer delivery two balls later.

South Africa lost 7 for 23 overall, folding for 84 in the eighteenth over. Radha Yadav’s double-wicket maiden in the 17th over, which brought the end prematurely, saw her finish with 3 for 6 in her three overs.

There was no pressure of any kind on the openers throughout India’s innings. Mandhana deserves a lot of credit for this, as she maintained her brilliant form while hitting some of the most visually appealing hit-through-the-line batting.

To set the tone, she took Ayabonga Khaka for two fours in the opening over. Then, she was unfortunate to be hit by a brilliant delivery from Kapp that nipped away to beat the outside edge and struck the seam.

Perhaps there was the only ambiguity in a knock where Mandhana asserted her control over spin and pace. She scored two sixes and eight fours in a delivery that included a six that brought up her fifty and India’s triumph.

On the opposite side, Shafali shown hints of her most dominant form as she ruthlessly dragged the seamen in front of square, playing her signature shovels and slaps without any opposition. Nothing could have been simpler.

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