Lucknow, March 21 (IANS) Attacking half-centuries by South Africa’s golden girls Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt helped South Africa secure their first-ever Twenty20 series win over India with a thrilling last-ball finish in the second T20 International at the Ekana Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.
Opener Lee recorded a swashbuckling 70 off 45 balls (11 fours, 1 six) to lead a big chase of 159, with Wolvaardt, a middle-order bat in 20-over format, then finishing the job with an unbeaten 53 off 39 balls (7 fours). The visitors thus edged to a six-wicket win off the final ball of the innings.
Earlier, it was Shafali Verma (47), Harleen Deol (31) and Richa Ghosh (44 not out) who helped the hosts amass a strong 158 for four after the South Africans won the toss and opted to field first.
But another fine batting effort by the visitors clinched a result that ensured South Africa beat the Indians for the first time in a series in what was their third attempt.
It also meant that the Hilton Moreeng-coached South Africa followed up their 4-1 ODI success earlier this week by moving into an unassailable 2-0 lead with one match to play on Tuesday.
Match No 2 was undoubtedly one of the tightest yet, though, after a good showing with the bat by India.
After losing captain Smriti Mandhana (7) early to Shabnim Ismail (1/31), Verma and Deol put their side in a powerful position with their 79-run second wicket stand.
Both did eventually fall in quick succession to Nonkululeko Mlaba (1/27) and Anneke Bosch (1/26), but Ghosh’s flying 26-ball knock left the home side well-poised at halfway.
Bosch (2), heroine of the first game, then fell early in the chase. But Lee and captain Sune Luus (20) added 58 for the second wicket, with the former following that up by putting on exactly 50 for the next wicket alongside Wolvaardt.
That took South Africa to 116 for three when Lee fell. Mignon du Preez (10) ensured the momentum continued for South Africa as she and Wolvaardt brought the equation down to 19 off 10 balls when she fell.
It was then all about Wolvaardt. She struck Deol for successive boundaries from the last two balls of the 19th over to leave nine from the final over.
After a good start to the over by Arundhati Reddy when only three came from the first four balls, she delivered a crucial no ball that turned the tie back in South Africa’s favour and Wolvaardt swooped to finish the job.