India Women secured its entry to World Cup 2017 with a striking win against South Africa at P Sara Oval. It was Harmanpreeet Kaur who knocked the winning runs to cut short the route to the tournament. Chasing South Africa’s 244, India was strangled until the last two balls of the inning. The team required eight runs off the two final balls to win. On strike was Kaur, the stand in captain and the bowling attack was led by Marcia Letsoalo. She hammered the crucial six in the pre-ultimate ball and took two off the last ball. The match ended as a victory for India by a single wicket.
South Africa started the match with a moderate inning to bring good runs. Although it lost only a single wicket in 10 overs, the score barely crossed 50. Sikha Pandey struck down the opening wicket Lizelle Lee, who set off the momentum. She was dismissed at 37 off 31 balls. The next opener, Laura Wolvaardt was struck down after five overs with the team sliding to 2 wickets for 68 runs.
Mignon du Preez emerged as the top scorer of the team to knock 40 runs. However, her strike rate was low. She had only a single four in the stretch reaching an SR of 55.55. The only partnership stretch in the inning was between du Preez and fifth wicket Dane van Neikerk who scored 37 runs. The players paired for 9.2 overs to bring 53 runs.
In the chase, although India lost opener Thirush Kamini early in the eight over, while reaching only 20, the inning was steered strong by the following batsmen. It was followed by a 124-run partnership that lasted for 25 overs between opener Mona Meshram and third wicket Deepti Sharma. The latter hauled the score to 144. She delivered a striking inning of 71 off 89 balls. Meshram followed her in the next over after delivering a half century with 7 fours and a six. She scored 59 off 82 balls.
The foundation being strongly built, rest of the players did not have the pressure to chase. However, India lost its wickets fast. Within six overs from 41st to 46th, the team reduced from 186 for 4 to 223 for 8. In the final stretch, the chase hanged with Harmanpreet Kaur and Poonam Yadav. Kaur scored 41 off 41 balls remaining unbeaten with last wicket Rajeshwari Gayakwad reaching the World Cup berth.
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