After a year-long absence from international cricket, the Indian women’s team will finally begin their World Cup preparation with a five-match ODI series against South Africa at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow.

The ODI series, starting on Sunday, will be followed by three T20Is.

Follow the game LIVE here:
India women vs South Africa women – 1st ODI LIVE score – Smriti Mandhana starts strong

South Africa is slightly ahead of India in terms of preparation as the touring party played a home series against Pakistan in February.

India last played on March 8, 2020, the day it lost the T20 World Cup final to Australia.

The SENA countries had ample playing time amid the pandemic, but this Indian team needs to oil its gears to start operating at full throttle once again.

Mithali Raj: Shafali Verma is definitely in the radar for ODIs

Squad- Who’s there and who’s not

When the Neetu David-led selection squad announced the squads for the South Africa series, there was much deliberation regarding the inclusion of rookie right-arm medium pacers C. Prathyusha and Monica Patel in place of the seasoned Shikha Pandey. Not just Pandey, spinner Ekta Bisht had also been replaced by youngster Yashik Bhatia in the 50-over squad.

The selection committee, however, assured that this was done to test the bench strength of the team, which will be imperative for next year’s World Cup.

The Proteas women’s team will continue to miss the services of Chloe Tryon, Dane van Niekerk and Masabata Klaas due to injuries.

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Full squad

India ODI squad: Mithali Raj (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), D. Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Swetha Verma (wicket-keeper), Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, C. Prathyusha, Monica Patel.

India T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Nuzhat Parveen (wicket-keeper), Ayushi Soni, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Mansi Joshi, Monica Patel, C. Prathyusha, Simran Dil Bahadur.

South Africa squad: Sune Luus (captain), Ayabonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Sinalo Jafta, Tasmin Britz, Marizanne Kapp, Nondumiso Shangase, Lizelle Lee, Anneke Bosch, Faye Tunniclife, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Mignon du Preez, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Tumi Sekhukhune.


Pitch talk

The Indian side has spent some time training at the Ekana Stadium, and Harmanpreet spoke positively about the pitch, hoping for a high-scoring encounter in the series opener. Mithali preferred to wait and watch, instead focussing on the preparations for the ICC ODI World Cup in New Zealand next year.

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Crowd control

After initially deciding to conduct the series behind closed doors, the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association has confirmed that 10 per cent of spectators will be allowed for the limited-overs series between India and South Africa. The tickets have been priced at Rs 200 and Rs 400 and will be available online on Paytm from 6 March.

Head-to-head record

India has a 7-2 win record against South Africa.

When and where are the matches?

ODI series: March 7, 9, 12, 14, 17

T20I series: March 20, 21, 23

Venue: Ekana Stadium, Lucknow

Where can you watch it?

India Women vs South Africa Women ODIs will be live on Star Sports 2 (and HD) and Star Sports 3 (and HD).  The India Women vs South Africa Women ODIs will also be streamed online on Star Sports Network’s digital platforms.

You can also follow the coverage of the game with us live here at Sportstar from 9 am