Harmanpreet Kaur is often identified as the one who played the spectacular knock of 171 against Australia. Her 100th one-dayer against South Africa on Sunday, became equally unforgettable as India slipped from a position of strength to defeat.
It will be unfair to blame the 32-year-old Harmanpreet for triggering the turning point in the match with that lofted drive when she was in full flow during the classy essay of 40.
It was indeed a collective team failure to consolidate on the foundation. The beautiful playing conditions in the afternoon had made Indian bowling look toothless.
Having been a dominant force against South Africa in the past, the Indian team knows how to get back into the driver’s seat and capitalise on the next four one-dayers, all scheduled to be hosted at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium.
Vice captain Harmanpreet conceded after the match that the players needed to be ‘pricey’ with their wickets and have good partnerships to render justice to the team’s ability.
“Next match we will try to play long’’, said Harmanpreet.
Considering the resolve, it will be interesting to see the response from the team to the challenge of getting even, in the second one-dayer on Tuesday.
If anything, the reversal for the host has ignited a lot more interest in the women’s series, which should augur well for the game.
The temptation could be to chase, on winning the toss, from the way things unfolded in the opener. How the pitch behaves henceforth would also be watched with keen interest.
On its part, the South African team, finding itself in good competitive rhythm would attempt to consolidate on the gains from the eight-wicket victory.
The focus for both the teams would be to put up a big total and make a match of it.
“We will try to do what best we can do as a team’’, assured Harmanpreet. You can expect the Indian team to lift itself and play hard.
Teams (from) India women: Mithali Raj (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur, D Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Swetha Verma, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, C Prathyusha, Monica Patel.
South Africa women: Sune Luus (captain), Ayabonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Sinalo Jafta, Tasmin Britz, Marizanne Kapp, Nondumiso Shangase, Lizelle Lee, Anneke Bosch, Faye Tunnicliffe, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Mignon du Preez, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Tumi Sekhukhune.