Indian eves to take on Proteas in first ODI

Kimberley: Few months after their astounding performance in the ICC World Cup, the Indian women’s cricket team will resume their rivalry against South Africa when the two sides head into the opening ODI of the three-match series at the Diamond Oval here on Monday.

The three-match series, which is the first-round fixture of the ICC Women’s Championship, will give two sides an opportunity to directly qualify for the 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup.

Kimberley will be the venue of the ODIs on February 5 and 7, while the series will finish with the final match in Potchefstroom on February 10.

It should be noted that India did not get to play an international game since the 2017 World Cup, where the Mithali Raj-led side made it to the finals before slumping to a heartbreaking nine-run defeat at Lord’s against England to lose by 9 runs.

And now, India face the biggest challenge to get back into the groove heading into the South Africa tour.

When the two sides met in the inaugural edition of the ICC Women’s Championship in Bengaluru in November 2014, South Africa had won the series 2-1.

When the two sides met again in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Sri Lanka in February 2017 after failing to finish in the top four of the ICC Women’s Championship, India beat South Africa by 49 runs in a Super Six match and then in the final by one wicket.

In the ICC Women’s World Cup match in Leicester in July 2017, South Africa were comfortable winners by 115 runs.

At the backend of the ODI series, with memories of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 still fresh in the minds of both teams, the two sides will also play five T20Is, which will not count towards the ICC Women’s Championship.

However, the matches will have an impact on the Women’s Team Rankings on which India are presently ranked fourth and South Africa at sixth.

The two teams are as follows:

India: Mithali Raj (capt.), Taniya Bhatia, Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Sushma Verma and Poonam Yadav.

South Africa: Dane van Niekerk (capt), Marizanne Kapp, Trisha Chetty, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Sune Luus, Laura Wolvaardt, Mignon du Preez, Lizelle Lee, Chloe Tryon, Andrie Steyn, Raisibe Ntozakhe and Zintle Mali.