Indian women's team produced another authoritative performance to comfortably defeat South Africa by five wickets in the fifth T20 International, taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the six-match series. With two games being completely washed out, the series was extended from five to six matches and India needed to win on the day to seal the series. Off-spinner Deepti Sharma (2 for 19) and left-arm spinnner Radha Yadav (3/23 in 4 overs) bowled brilliantly to restrict the Proteas women to 98 for 8.
They got able support from leg-spinner Poonam Yadav, who gave away only 15 runs in her 4 overs and got a wicket.
The chase was an easy one and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (34 not out off 32 balls) was in her element as the Women In Blue won 17.1 overs.
Harmanpreet's innings had four boundaries and added crucial 50 runs for the fourth wicket with Deepti (16).
The Indian captain finished the match with an exquisite drive off seamer Ayabonga Khaka to finish the proceedings and also completed 2000 runs in the shortest format.
"I am very happy with the performance of our team, especially the spinners. They read the pitch very well and bowled accordingly. The primary reason for playing more spinners is because of the nature of the wicket. On personal front, I am happy to have scored runs," Harmanpreet said after winning 'Player of Match' award.
Earlier Deepti kept a tight leash upfront while Radha and Poonam put the brakes in the middle overs to set the platform for the batters.
South Africa couldn't wriggle out of the spin web as none of their batswomen built on their starts, losing wickets in regular interval.
Opener Sune Luus (16) was the first to go when she was trapped by Radha for her first wicket in the sixth over.
In the next over, other opener Lizelle Lee (7) too went back to the hut after being caught by Mandhana off Poonam's bowling.
Laura Wolvaardt (17) and Nadine de Klerk (11) then took the visitors across the 50-mark before skipper Harmanpreet cleaned up the former and Radha had the latter caught by Deepti within a space of seven balls as SA slipped to 59 for 4.
Mignon du Preez (10) was then sent packing by Pandey as South Africa looked down the barrel at 74 for 5 in 15.4 overs.
Lara Goodall (15) and Anne Bosch (11) then added 22 runs but the visitors then lost three wickets in three balls at the team score of 96 as South Africa ended two runs short of the 100-mark.