INDW vs SAW 2nd T20I Lucknow Smriti Mandhana

India’s stand-in captain Smriti Mandhana said her team’s sloppy fielding made the hosts undeserving of a win in the second T20I against South Africa. On Sunday night, South Africa won off the final ball to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

“It is a bitter pill to swallow,” Mandhana told Star Sports after the loss. “Thought 80 per cent of the time it was our game but we could not close it out in the end. Lots of things to learn from the game. Probably the way we fielded, I don’t think we deserved to win the game. We have to work on our fielding and probably improve our fielding standards.”

India missed three major chances on the night that cost them dearly. Opener Lizelle Lee was dropped on 30 and 60, by Richa Ghosh on both occasions, while left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad dropped Player of the Match Laura Wolvaardt, who struck the winning runs to finish unbeaten on 53, when she was on two.

Having been put in to bat for the second game on the trot, India, like in the series opener, lost Mandhana in the second over but equalled their powerplay tally of 41 for 1 from the first T20I. Their innings was steadied again by opener Shafali Verma and No. 3 Harleen Deol. With Verma muscling a 31-ball 47 and later No. 5 Ghosh smashing eight fours in her 26-ball 44, India set South Africa a 159 target, an improvement on their total of 130 the night before.

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