Indian women's cricket team is on the brink of history when then it faces South Africa women in the fourth Twenty20 International match at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday. A win in Centurion would give India an unassailable 3-1 series lead, making it the first time that India women have won two series on a single tour of South Africa. India had clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1, and will now look to wrap up the T20I series. India had registered comprehensive seven and nine wickets wins in the first T20Is respectively but allowed South Africa women to keep the series alive with a lacklustre performance in the thrid T20I in Johannesburg.
In the third T20I, India lost Mithali Raj in the first over but some brilliant batting from skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (48 off 30 balls) and star opener Smriti Mandhana (37) put them on track of a big score.
The duo added 55 runs for the second wicket in super quick time. However, things went drastically wrong for the visitors after the duo departed, with a complete middle-order collapse.
India, who were 93 for three off 11.2, were bowled out for 133 -- losing teir last five wickets for just nine runs.
The Indian bowling too looked ordinary in the last match.
In the absence of injured veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami, the onus was on young fast bowler Pooja Vastrakar to lead the attack and she did it with aplomb picking up two wickets, giving away just 21 runs from her four overs.
But Pooja lacked support from the other end as her new ball partner Shikha Pandey went for runs.
Off-spinner Anuja Patil was also a big let down for India as she conceded 44 runs from her four overs and accounted for just one wicket.
Come Wednesday, Harmanpreet would want her team to tick all boxes correctly in order to register a rare feat in the history of Indian women's cricket.
With the men's team also scheduled to play their second T20 at the same venue later in the day, the onus will be on Harmanpreet and her team to set the ball rolling for Virat Kohli's team as they eye an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series.
On the other hand, South Africa would be a much more confident unit, thanks largely to seamer Shabnim Ismail, who took her first T20I five-wicket haul in the previous match.
Ismail's figures of 5/30 were the second-best by a South African in the format and helped the hosts get a target that they chased down with six balls to spare.
They would also be hoping that Chloe Tryon, who struck a 15-ball 34 in the previous game, continues her good form.
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Mithali Raj, Veda Krishnamurthy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Anuja Patil, Taniya Bhatia, Nuzhat Parveen Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, Rumeli Dhar.
South Africa: Dane van Niekerk (captain), Marizanne Kapp, Trisha Chetty, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Sune Luus, Odine Kirsten, Mignon du Preez, Lizelle Lee, Chloe Tryon, Nadine de Klerk, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Moseline Daniels.
(With PTI Inputs)