India Vs South Africa Women 2021 Series Review: Lizelle Lee, Punam Raut, & Lack of WIPL The Talking Points

Mar 27, 2021 | India, Previews and Reviews, Women's Cricket

India Vs South Africa Women Series Review.

After a year of no cricket, women’s cricket finally restarted in India. Although the series ended with 4-1 and 2-1 to South Africa, there were positives for both teams.

Lizelle Lee’s blew India away with a whirlwind series, Shabnim Ismail continued to show why she is one of the leading fast bowlers in the world, and Anneke Bosch made full use of her opportunities.

While it seems that Women’s IPL is not going to become a reality anytime soon, India had positives as well.

India added another feather to Mithali Raj’s & Jhulan Goswami’s record breaking careers, witnessed Punam Raut’s second coming & return of Mansi Joshi, and saw the rise of youngsters in Shafali Verma, Harleen Deol, Monica Patel, & Radha. The experienced trio of Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Deol, & Deepti Sharma chipped in as well, but lower order power hitting & Jemimah Rodrigues’ ODI form remains a concern.

For Video Highlights/Scorecards, commentary on Women’s IPL, & emerging players, keep on reading ahead.

Also Read: Nobody Cares About Women’s Cricket, India Vs South Africa Women Preview

Stats, Scorecards & Video Highlights – India Vs South Africa

ODI Series: South Africa Women Win 4-1

  1. South Africa Women won by 8 wickets*Shabnim Ismail
  2. India Women won by 9 wickets*Jhulan Gosami
  3. South Africa Women won by 6 runs (D/L method)*Lizelle Lee
  4. South Africa Women won by 7 wickets*Mignon du Preez
  5. South Africa Women won by 5 wickets*Anneke Bosch

* Player of Match

ODI Series Stats

Player of SeriesIndiaSouth Africa
Lizelle Lee
Most RunsPunam Raut – 263 runs
(best of 104*, 100s-1, 50s-2, 87.66 average, 71.66 SR)
Lizelle Lee – 288 runs
(best 132*, 100s-1, 50s-2, 144.00 average, 86.22 SR)
Most WicketsJhulan Goswami – 8 wickets
(best of 4/42, 17.12 average, 3.51 economy)
Shabnim Ismail – 7 wickets
(best of 3/13, 20.25 average, 3.56 economy)
India Vs South Africa Women 2021 ODI Series Stats

T20I Series: South Africa Women Win 2-1

  1. South Africa Women won by 8 wickets*Anneke Bosch
  2. South Africa Women won by 6 wickets*Laura Wolvaardt
  3. India Women won by 9 wickets*Rajeshwari Gayakwad

* Player of Match

T20I Series Stats

Player of SeriesIndia
Shafali Verma
South Africa
Most RunsShafali Verma – 130 runs
(best of 60, 156.62 SR)
Sune Luus – 91 runs
(best of 43, 95.78 SR)
Most WicketsRajeshwari Gayakwad – 4 wickets
(best of 3/9, 4.75 economy)
Shabnim Ismail – 4 wickets
(best of 3/14, 8.20 economy)
India Vs South Africa Women 2021 T20I Series Stats

The Highlights


  • Punam Raut was revelation in this series with scores of 10, 62*, 77, 104*, & 10. Debuting 12 years ago with 72 ODIs & an average in the 30s, she was already a known name in the line up. Before this series, Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, & Jhulan Goswami were sure starters for the Indian Women’s ODI team. Add Punam Raut to that list after this breakthrough series. Could be a long term #3 option.
  • Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami once again displayed their worth in this ODI team. Although she had no centuries to her name this series, Mithali Raj consistently steadied the ship with scores of 50, 36, 45, and 79*. In the process, she became the first Indian women and second overall to cross 10,000 runs across formats. Legend. The other stalwart, Jhulan Goswami, came to the party as well with a match winning 4/42 in the second ODI.
  • Shafali Verma gave India the much-needed blazing starts in the T20I hitting 8 sixes altogether, with the 60*(30) in the 3rd T20I the best of the lot. Now the #1 ranked T20I batter. Time for ODI debut?

South Africa

  • If there was one player that was the difference between the two sides, it was Lizelle Lee and the top order. Usually one match winning knock in a series is a great achievement, but Lizelle came up with 83*, 132*, 69, & 70 across formats. Brilliant. When Lee did not perform, either the others in the top order Laura Wolvaardt (80 & 53) and Lara Goodall (59) came to the fore or South Africa women lost.
  • The Proteas found a new winner in Anneke Bosch with two player of the match performances. With Mignon Du Preez & Sune Luus chipping in and van Niekerk on an injury break, South Africa might be a dark horse for the next World Cup.
  • Shabnim Ismail & the fast bowling unit were impressive yet again. Although Ismail was the only one with the wickets, Khaka & Kapp kept the runs in the check, limiting India to 177, 248, 266, and 188.

Also Read: Impact of India’s 2017 Final Loss on the Lack of Women’s IPL, What Can Ellyse Perry Not Do?

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The Awards: Emerging Players & Surprise Package

India South Africa
Emerging PlayerShafali Verma, Harleen DeolAnneke Bosch
Surprise PackagePunam RautHow Did They Lose 2 Games?
Broken Cricket DreamNo Women’s IPL yet again & Jemimah Rodrigues’ ODI formVan Niekerk’s Out of Action – Missing out on a wonderful overseas series win
India Vs South Africa Women 2021 Series Awards

Where Do They Go From Here?

At this point, except the upcoming Australia vs New Zealand Women series coming up, there are no upcoming international fixtures till ODI World Cup in March 2022. The only professional cricket seems to be The Hundred in the UK this summer. Promises to be a game changer for Women’s cricket.

Another setback has happened with reports of no IPL in 2021 (with suggestions that this was done due to the ‘lack of depth’ and result of the South Africa series).

If the result of this series indeed had a direct impact on the WIPL decision, then let us reflect back. Were India really that bad this series? Not really. They actually improved over the course of the series. 177, 160/1 (won), 248 (lost only by D/L), and 266. In the final T20I, chased 113 with 9 wickets and 9 overs in hand. If not for Lizelle Lee’s brilliance, the score line would have been much closer.

Also if the national cricket board does not give the team a chance for an entire year after the team reached the final of a World T20, then it is not the players’ fault. It is the administration’s lack of urgency, vision, & communication.

Thoughts on Women’s Indian Premier League

It was nice to see widespread awareness and support in Twitter countering the arguments made against Women’s IPL. Here was a list of the top women professional cricketers in India that went viral.

If not now, when? Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami are on the verge of retirements, and it would be a shame if they are not part of the first iteration of this imaginary tournament. Here are my thoughts on the positives that Indian cricket can gain from the WIPL:

  1. Foster fanbases & transfer experience to the next generation of Indian players
  2. Intermingling of domestic Indian players with international stars and coaches, which has clearly been a feature of the
  3. Financial Growth, which can be reinvested to grow the women’s game in India and improve the standard of women’s domestic cricket in the long run.
  4. Cultural and financial awareness through the WIPL in the form of TV and social media can help make women’s sports a potential career in India
  5. Bring talented youngsters in the mix
  6. Narrowing down the gap between Australia-England-New Zealand and the rest of the countries in women’s cricket. This will also give an opportunity to Associate nations like the rising Thailand team.

Sure maybe 8 teams with 30 players each may be two far, but just 4 games in the Women’s T20 Challenge is a disgrace. Start with 4-6 teams and grow it little by little each year.

This is the time. Better late than never.

Copyright (2021: 3/27/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

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

Nitesh Mathur


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