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Shafali & co propel India to 10-wicket win against Proteas

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CHENNAI, July 1: India women’s team defeated South Africa by 10 wickets in the one-off Test at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Monday. Chasing the target of 37 runs, Indian openers Shafali Verma (24 not out) and Shubha Satheesh (13 not out) took the hosts to a comfortable victory to continue their domination in the multi-format bilateral series.
South African batters demonstrated exceptional mental resilience, fighting back against a formidable Indian bowling attack to stay in the game as they finished the third day of a one-off women’s Test against India at 232 for 2 but only to get bowled out early in the fourth and final day on 373.
Chasing the target of 37 runs, India closed the game in half an hour as Shafali Verma (24) and Shubha Sateesh (17) took the hosts to a 10-wicket victory. For her 229 runs in the match–a maiden double century in the first inning helped Shafali to secure the ‘Player of the Match’ award.
Sneh Rana, who claimed eight wickets in the first inning went on to take two more to become only the second Indian bower after Jhulan Goswami to finish with 10 wickets in a women’s Test. Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad picked up two wickets apiece.
Earlier, India declared their first inning at a mammoth 603/6, placing immense pressure on South Africa. After being put on the back foot, South Africa showcased their tenacity, thanks to Sune Luus and Marizanne Kapp who helped Africa cut down the deficit and set up an intriguing final day.
On the second day, their partnership held firm, helping South Africa reach 236/4 at stumps. Yet, on Sunday morning, Sneh Rana’s sensational spin bowling turned the game on its head.
Rana, exploiting the turn and bounce from the pitch, decimated the South African lineup, adding five more wickets to her tally from the previous day. She finished with figures of 8-85, orchestrating a collapse that saw South Africa lose six wickets for just 30 runs to bowled out for 266.
India enforced the follow-on with a significant lead of 337 runs, putting South Africa under immense pressure. They faced an early setback when
Deepti Sharma trapped Anneke Bosch lbw in the first over. However, South Africa’s fighting spirit shone through as Laura Wolvaardt and Sune Luus stitched together a monumental partnership. The duo batted through 66 overs across the second and third sessions, building a 190-run stand—the highest partnership for any wicket in South
African women’s Test history. Wolvaardt scored 122 runs off 314 balls with 16 fours before Rajeshwari Gayakwad accounted for her wicket. Harmanpreet Kaur got the crucial wicket of Luus, who chipped in with a handy 109-run knock.
The pitch slowed down as the day wore on, and the South African pair grew more accustomed to the low bounce.
Luus, after 234 minutes on the field, reached her maiden Test hundred, becoming only the second South African woman to score a century in India.
The struggle for South Africa also continued on the fourth day as they lost wickets early in the day. Nandine De Klerk’s late resilience of 61 helped the Proteas set India a target of 37 runs.
‘Match was always inclined towards India’
Spinner Sneh Rana said India were always confident of closing out the match despite the South African fightback in the second innings of the one-off Test here on Monday.
Despite their early domination, India had to wait till the fourth and final day of the Test for the eventual 10-wicket victory.
“Are you demotivating us? (chuckles) We had positive vibes throughout (the match) and it never did cross our minds that South Africa was taking the game away from us,” Rana said in the post-match press meet.
“The match was always inclined towards India. We kept believing that we could take a wicket anytime, and that’s exactly what happened,” she added.
Rana said it was all about keeping calm when the South Africans were offering resistance.“There will be phases during Tests when the opposition will build partnerships. But to keep ourselves calm and keep our minds going, we chirped and cracked jokes among ourselves which helped to keep us awake,” she said. (IANS)

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