The ongoing clash of the league stage between Indian Women and South Africa Women in the Women’s World Cup is a must-win game for Mithali Raj & Co. Batting first, the Women in Blue had a dream start to their innings as Smriti Mandhana, and Shafali Verma built a solid foundation at the top-of-the-order, scoring 91-for the first wicket.
Mandhana played a measured innings by scoring 71 off 84 balls, including six 4s, one 6s. Meanwhile, Shafali Verma set up the tempo with her sizzling half-century in just 41 balls. Both the batters were looking extremely dangerous, and it was evident that they had all the answers for every challenge posted by quality bowling attack of South Africa Women.
But, when India’s scorecard would reach a three-figure mark without losing a wicket, a huge mix-up in the middle of the ground costed India its first wicket in the form of Shafali Verma.
The unfortunate turn of events occurred in the 14th over of the first innings. As, Mandhana, who was on strike, pushed the length ball to mid-wicket, both batters left their crease to steal a quick single. However, Shafali suddenly stopped mid-way, causing confusion. But, Mandhana, who had already crossed half-of-the crease, stood confused as both the batters looked stranded in the middle. Meanwhile, the throw came at the keeper’s end, and Chetty wasted no time to dislodge the bails.
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The batters crossed the halfway of the crease, as Shafali, who had already made a half-century and played a ball more than Mandhana, sacrificed her wicket. While she looked a bit upset, her teammates in the dressing room gave her a standing ovation as she took a long hard walk to the dugout. However, Mandhana ensured that Shafali’s wicket didn’t go waste, as she played a crucial 71-run knock.
Indian Women posted a respective total of 274/7 onboard on the back of Shafali Verma (53 off 46), Mandhana (71 off 84), Mithali Raj (68 off 84), and Harmanpreet Kaur’s 48 in 57 balls. For South Africa, Masabata Klaas and Shabnim Ismail picked two wickets each in the first innings. To qualify for the semi-finals, Indian Women need to win this game, and now the onus is on the bowlers.