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AS INDIA PREPARE FOR THE TRIO-SERIES FINAL, DEEPTI SHARMA SHINES



In a meaningless match against the West Indies on Monday in East London, South Africa, Deepti Bhagwan Sharma stood out as the player of the match as India warmed up for the women's T20 Tri-series championship. If the bowlers, led by Deepti (3/11), put up a professional performance to restrict the West Indies to 94 for six, Jemimah Rodrigues (42 not out) and captain Harmanpreet Kaur (32 not out) produced an attacking batting display as India chased down the modest target in 13.5 overs. On February 2, India will play against the tournament's hosts, South Africa.


India reached 36 for one in six overs while chasing 95 runs, thanks in part to three boundaries from Rodrigues. Smriti Mandhana (#5) was castled after being late in attempting a shot.


Although she was in good shape, Harleen Deol was unable to clear the mid-off and was instead holed out to Shabika Gajnabi. The captain Harmanpreet then joined Rodrigues and smashed four boundaries to easily complete the remaining runs.


In just 40 balls, the pair combined for an unbeaten 54 runs that won the game.


Earlier, India's decision to bowl after winning the toss was justified because the spin duo of Deepti and Rajeshwari Gayakwad (1/9) suffocated the Windies batters.


Deepti demolished the top order with back-to-back wickets, dismissing Rashada Williams (8) and Campbelle (0) before returning to dismiss Shabika Gajnabi (12), who was stumped by Yastika Bhatia.


The Windies batters were unable to free their arms, so Gayakwad, a left-arm spinner, also maintained a good line and length.


She soon received payment when, in the ninth over, her arm-ball trapped Djenaba Joseph (3). Later replays revealed that she had an inside edge.


Pooja Vastrakar (2/19), who entered the game in the tenth over, took two wickets, including Alleyne's final victim in the final pitch of the innings. Shikha Pandey, a seasoned pacer, had a bad day, giving up 28 runs in her three overs, while Renuka Singh failed to claim a wicket in her four overs allotment and finished with a score of 22.


The only West Indies batter who made an effort was Hayley Matthews (34), but she received no assistance from the other end.


While Gajnabi (12) did manage to score in the double digits, West Indies was moved closer to the 100-run threshold by Zaida James's (21) two unanticipated sixes.


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