India Vs South Africa Women 2021 Series Preview: Cricket Finally Makes A Comeback to Women’s Cricket

Photo of Shikha Pandey, missing from the India Vs South Africa Women series
Shikha Pandey's surprising omission is the talking point of the India Vs South Africa Women series.

India Vs South Africa Women 2021 Series Preview—finally some progress in women’s cricket in India.

Earlier, we explored why Nobody Cares About Women’s Cricket. The Indian men have played a 60 day IPL, had a complete tour of Australia, and is now hosting England for a full series. On the other hand, Indian women have played half-a-week long T20 Challenge. That is it. No training either until recently. This will be India’s first assignment since the World T20 Final on March 8th, 2020.

Meanwhile South Africa women are coming on back of a 3-0 ODI & 2-1 T20I victory against Pakistan at home. Here is a preview of the 5 ODI & 3 T20I match tour between India and South Africa. Here is what you should expect, the big surprises in team selection, the squads, and our series prediction.

When and Where?

Here are the dates and the venue for the India Vs South Africa Women series.

ODIs

  1. 6 March, 2021 – Lucknow
  2. 8 March, 2021 – Lucknow
  3. 11 March, 2021 – Lucknow
  4. 13 March 2021 – Lucknow
  5. 16 March 2021 – Lucknow

T20Is

  1. 20 March, 2021 – Lucknow
  2. 21 March, 2021 – Lucknow
  3. 24 March, 2021 – Lucknow

Also Read: What If Indian Women Had Won the 2017 World Cup?, What Can Ellyse Perry Not Do?

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The Batting

India: Blend of Youth & Experience Key

  • Mithali Raj, the highest run scorer in Women’s ODI cricket, is just 85 runs shy of 10,000 international runs across formats (6888 ODI, 2364 T20I, 663 Tests). After 487 days away from national duty, she will back trying to take India to the ODI World Cup next year. At 38, this might be Raj’s final hurrah.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, watch out for the explosive 17-year-old Shafali Verma in the T20Is. She already has 19 international caps and strikes it at 146.24.
  • A lot will depend on the India’s experienced middle order. Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, and Sushma Verma (comeback) will need to make sure India bats 50 overs in case of a collapse.

South Africa: Enviable Top-Order With Lee, Wolfvaardt, and Luus

  • If the top order of Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolfvaardt, and Sune Luus play to their potential, this South African team will be very hard to beat. Luus also has the extra responsibility of the stand-in captain in the absence of injured Dan van Niekerk.
  • Lookout for Trisha Chetty. A veteran of 114 ODIs, the wicketkeeper-batsman is integral to the core of this South African side.
  • Tazmin Brits is the in-form T20I batsman for South Africa. With scores of 52* & 66, she was the Player of the T20I series against Pakistan.

The Bowling

India: Shikha Pandey’s Omission The Talking Point

  • In the build up to this series, the omission of India’s pace spearhead, Shikha Pandey, has taken the public by surprise. India’s most successful pace bowler of recent times and 2nd highest wicket taker in India’s last assignment (T20 World Cup) this is a huge call.
  • In Shikha’s absence, the pace responsibility will lie with the veteran Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, and Arundhati Reddy (T20I only)
  • I am most excited to watch India’s spin trio—Poonam Yadav, the T20 World Cup star,, Radha Yadav, and Rajeshwari Gayakwad. The youngster, Harleen Deol, impressed in the T20 Challenge with the Trailblazers and might get more opportunities to showcase her talent on the international stage.

South Africa: Ample Fast Bowling Resources, but Spin the Concern

  • The allrounder, Marizanne Kapp, is the glue that holds South Africa’s together. In the Player of the Match performance in the 2nd ODI against Pakistan, she scored an unbeaten 68 along with 3-44 as the opening pace bowler. Brilliant.
  • Shabnam Ismail is one of the best fast bowlers on women’s cricket circuit at the moment. South Africa’s highest wicket taker in both ODIs and T20Is, she will be key to South Africa’s success.
  • Without regular captain and off-spinner van Niekerk, South Africa’s spin bowling department is the concern.

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The Broken Dream

India: Shikha Pandey & Veda Krishnamurthy

  • Along with Mandhana, Raj, & Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy caught the public’s eye in the 2017 ODI World Cup as India’s finisher. Yet, an ODI average of 25.9 & T20I average of 18.61 was not justifiable. Hopefully this is just a short term loss of form, and she we come roaring back soon.
  • Harmanpreet Kaur insisted that Pandey was ‘rested, not dropped‘ in order to experiment with the rest of the squad for upcoming tournaments. I do not buy this statement given a 18-member squad was picked regardless and that India has not played any international cricket for over a year.

South Africa: Masabata Klaas

  • South Africa are carrying a settled squad, with the exception of Klass. She suffered a last-minute injury in the Pakistan series and has not been picked for this series.

Prediction

Verdict: 3-2 South Africa (ODIs) & 2-1 India (T20Is)

South Africa’s top order and fast bowlers should give them the edge in the ODIs. Expect competitive games with scores around 225-250.

I am going with India 2-1 for the T20I series. The swashbuckling top order of Jemimah, Shafali, and Mandhana may be too much to handle for South Africa. India should look to bat first, put up a decent score, and let the spin trio handle the rest.

Let us know your thoughts on India Vs South Africa Women, and the eventual scorelines.

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My Starting XIs

These are my starting XIs (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).

ODI

India

  1. Jemimah Rodrigues, 2. Smriti Mandhana, 3. Priya Punia, 4. Mithali Raj*, 5. Harmanpreet Kaur, 6. Deepti Sharma, 7. Sushma Verma (WK), 8. Jhulan Goswami, 9. Poonam Yadav, 10. Mansi Joshi, 11. Rajeshwari Gayakwad

South Africa

  1. Lizelle Lee, 2. Laura Wolvaardt, 3. Sune Luus (C), 4. Lara Goodall, 5. Mignon du Preez , 6. Marizanne Kapp, 7. Trisha Chetty (WK), 8. Shabnim Ismail, 9. Nondumiso Shangase, 10. Ayabonga Khaka, 11. Nonkululeo Mlaba

*captain

T20I

India

  1. Shafali Verma, 2. Smriti Mandhana, 3. Jemimah Rodrigues, 4. Harmanpreet Kaur*, 5. Deepti Sharma, 6. Sushma Verma (WK), 7. Richa Ghosh, 8. Radha Yadav, 9. Poonam Yadav, 10. Mansi Joshi/Arundhati Reddy, 11. Rajeshwari Gayakwad/Harleen Deol

South Africa

  1. Lizelle Lee, 2. Tazmin Brits, 3.Marizanne Kapp, 4. Laura Wolvaardt, 5. Sune Luus (C), 6. Sinalo Jafta (WK), 7. Mignon du Preez,, 8. Shabnim Ismail, 9. Nondumiso Shangase, 10. Ayabonga Khaka, 11. Nonkululeo Mlaba

The Squads

India: (ODIs) Punam Raut, Dayalan Hemalatha, Radha Yadav, Yastika Bhatia, Monica Patel, Challuru Pratyusha, Sweta Verma (WK), (T20Is) Ayushi Soni, Nuzhat Parween (WK), Challuru Pratyusha, Monica Patel, Simran Bahadur

South Africa: (ODIs) Tazmin Brits, Anne Bosch, Nadine de Klerk, Sinalo Jafta, Faye Tunnicliffe, (T20Is) Tumi Sekhukune, Faye Tunnicliffe, Lara Goodall, Nadine de Klerk, Trisha Chetty

Copyright (2021: 3/6/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Image Courtesy: Shikha Pandey – Bahnfrend, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons




About Nit-X 109 Articles
I dreamt of being a No. 3 batsman saving test matches and hitting winning runs. Well, that did not exactly go to plan, but I have since become an avid follower of the game. As long as there is a live cricket, you can guarantee that I will be checking the scorecards, watching the game live on TV, and certainly, discussing the game and statistics with family and friends.

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