Match 18 of the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup was played between India and South Africa at Grace Road, Leicester, on Saturday. A win for India would have guaranteed them a semi-final berth but South Africa had other plans as they beat them by an emphatic margin of 115 runs. They stunned India and broke their winning streak to edge ahead of England on the points table.
Before this game, India won four matches on the trot and a win today would have ensured their spot in the final four. Their top order has been scoring bulk of the runs. India’s captain, Mithali Raj is just 34 runs away from becoming the top-scorer in women’s ODIs. Ekta Bisht has been the leading wicket-taker for India and has played a major role in restricting opposition sides to meager totals. South Africa have won two games, lost one and one of their game got washed-out. Their batting has been reliable so far; the batters scored 300 (first time a team was able to register 300 while chasing) in a losing cause while chasing a mammoth total of 370 against England. Marizanne Kapp leads the bowling charts with eight wickets in three matches for South Africa.
In today’s match: Mithali Raj won the toss and chose to bowl first. South Africa remained unchanged and India replaced Mansi Joshi with Shikha Pandey, Pandey had taken 14 wickets in eight matches against South Africa before this match at an average of 14.78. Her impeccable record continued as she took 3 wickets for 44 runs but the rest of the bowlers couldn’t give her the support she would have hoped for. Despite losing their first wicket in the second over, South Africa managed to dismantle the Indian attack early on courtesy a blazing knock of 92 runs off just 65 balls by opener Lizelle Lee. She laid the perfect platform for the rest of the batters to consolidate, but South Africa lost 2 quick wickets and were 162/5 when captain Dane van Niekerk came to the rescue. She scored 57 invaluable runs to help her team post their second highest world cup total of 273. The scoreboard pressure got to India; they never looked in control to chase down the target. Mandhana failed once again as she was removed by Kapp in the second over. Things further went downhill in the 13th over when Mithali Raj bagged her first ever golden duck in ODIs and Harmanpeet Kaur bagged another duck, wickets courtesy some magical bowling by captain fantastic Dane van Niekerk (she didn’t put a foot wrong in this match). Wickets kept falling, some resistance was provided by Deepti Sharma (60 off 111) and Jhulan Goswami (43 off 79) later on but it was too late, India were all out for 158. More than their batting, it was the bowling that won South Africa a crucial match.
India vs South Africa ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 Full Match Highlights
Lizelle Lee has been in fine form throughout the tournament but her innings today was the best so far. Lee punished the Indian bowlers; hit 10 fours and 7 sixes in her unforgiving innings of 92 from 65 balls. Her career strike rate is 86.57 and her strike rate for this innings was 141.53. Any batter in the world would like to take inspiration from the prolific hitting we’ve witnessed in this world cup so far.
The player of the match and for all the right reasons, captain fantastic Dane van Niekerek played a major role in sealing victory over mighty India. She scored 57 priceless runs and to top that effort she took four wickets and gave away 22 runs at an economy rate of 2.20. van Niekerk struck gold in her very first over when she got rid of Mithali Raj for a golden duck on a non-turning legbreak and Harmanpreet Kaur on a similar delivery. Her other two scalps were Shikha Pandey and Deepti Sharma. Dane van Niekerk is now also the leading wicket taker of the tournament with 9 wickets in 4 matches.
Niekerk dismisses Mithali Raj for a golden duck
Dane van Niekerk gets two in three balls as Harmanpreet Kaur falls for a duck as well