Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 23 (ANI): Rajeshwari Gayakwad's three-wicket haul and Shafali Verma's 60-run knock helped India defeat South Africa by nine wickets in the third and final T20I on Tuesday here at the Ekana Cricket Ground.
South Africa had already sealed the series after winning the first two T20Is, but the hosts gained a consolation win in the final game of the series.
Chasing 113, India got off to a sensational start as opening batter Shafali Verma scored 18 runs in the very first over bowled by Shabnim Ismail. The right-hander along with Smriti Mandhana continued the carnage in the first six overs and as a result, the hosts' score read 71/0 after the end of six overs.
Shafali brought up her fifty off just 26 balls and India was looking in a hurry to finish off the third T20I. With just 17 runs away from victory, Shafali (60) ended up being dismissed in the ninth over of the innings. However, in the end, Mandhana (48*) and Harleen Deol (4*) took the hosts' over the line by nine wickets with 54 balls to spare.
Earlier, a spirited bowling performance by the spinners helped India restrict South Africa to 112/7 in the allotted twenty overs. Asked to bat first, the Proteas got off to a bad start as the visitors were reduced to 16/3 inside seven overs. Lizelle Lee (12) and Anne Bosch (0) were dismissed by Rajeshwari Gayakwad while Laura Wolvaardt (0) was sent back to the pavilion by Radha Yadav.
No Proteas batter was able to stay at the crease for a long haul and it was only skipper Sune Luus who managed to play a 28-run knock. In the final overs, Lara Goodall played a cameo of 25 runs to take South Africa's total past the 110-run mark.
Brief Scores: South Africa Women 112/7 (Sune Luus 28, Lara Goodall 25*, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 3-9); India Women 114/1 (Shafali Verma 60, Smriti Mandhana 48*, Nondumiso Shangase 1-18). (ANI)