Chennai rain cuts short contest after SA make 177

Brits and Bosch lead South Africa's batting charge; Deepti impresses with the ball for India

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
A steady drizzle delayed the start of the second innings, India vs South Africa, 2nd women's T20I, Chennai, July 7, 2024

A steady drizzle ensured no play would be possible in the second innings  •  BCCI

No result South Africa 177 for 6 (Brits 52, Bosch 40) vs India
A potentially engaging contest was robbed of its conclusion as the second T20I between India and South Africa was abandoned halfway through courtesy a steady evening drizzle in Chennai.
It was the kind of rain that wouldn't take players off most times. However, the sharpest spell of the evening - a steady five-minute drizzle - coincided with the innings break - forced the ground staff to cover the playing surface. But it continued to mizzle on and off for the next hour, forcing the umpires to pull the plug.
It left India, who made as many as four changes to their XI, with more questions than answers, while South Africa could be fairly satisfied after a second good workout with the bat, having followed their 189 for 6 two nights ago with a compelling 177 for 6 on Sunday evening.
They go into the series finale on Tuesday with an opportunity to seal the series, a significant result if it comes to fruition given this is their last assignment before the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in September.
Hello, Uma Chetry
Assam played their first domestic tournament in 1948-49. It took them nearly 76 years to produce the first India player (Riyan Parag), but on Sunday, they doubled that tally as Uma Chetry, the 21-year-old wicketkeeper, was handed a cap in Richa Ghosh's absence due to concussion.
Chetry was in action almost immediately. Everyone thought she had effected a smart stumping when Tazmin Brits, the top scorer from two nights ago, ran down to a Sajana Sajeevan slider. Even as an ecstatic Chetry celebrated her first dismissal, the third umpire brought her some agony.
A tiny fraction of Chetry's glove was in front of the stumps when she collected the ball, which meant Brits wasn't just not out but also had a free hit. On 5 then, Brits built on to make a 36-ball half-century, looking in sparkling touch for most parts.
It was in sharp contrast to her struggles in the series opener, where she took nine balls to get off the mark and had limped to a run-a-ball 25 after 10 overs, before a sensational late acceleration brought her 81 off 56 balls.
Wolvaardt's blazing start
South Africa captain Laura Wolvaardt offset any early pressure there may have been on the team with three back-to-back boundaries off the third over. Each of them was high on aesthetic appeal, her timing and placement precise enough to thread the tiniest of gaps on the off-side ring.
She would also be lucky to survive a leading edge that nearly popped to point as Arundhati Reddy, who replaced Renuka Singh in the XI, had a tough beginning.
But Wolvaardt's innings was cut short soon enough, when she found the safe hands of Radha Yadav at backward point as Pooja Vastrakar struck in the fifth over to break a dangerous opening partnership. Wolvaardt's contribution to the 43-run stand was a robust 12-ball 22.
Deepti leads India's spin charge
Marizanne Kapp didn't take long to settle in like she did the other night. She welcomed Delhi Capitals team-mate Yadav by muscling two hits down the ground in her opening over as South Africa ended the powerplay on 66 for 1. But India weren't throwing in the towel, ably hitting back courtesy their spinners, especially Deepti Sharma.
Deepti did what the other spinners couldn't - get balls to bounce off a length while also cleverly varying her pace - and Kapp fell in trying to step out and hit through the line to one such delivery, only to find Sajana at mid-off. Then India slipped in a few tight overs with Shreyanka Patil, who replaced legspinner Asha Sobhana, joining in.
Anneke Bosch took a while to adjust to the pace of the surface, but it helped that South Africa had Brits bring up a half-century. Then, Chetry redeemed herself with a stumping to dismiss Bosch as she charged Deepti, only to be beaten by sharp turn. To Chetry's credit, she stayed low and collected the ball at shin-height to effect the stumping.
It was a near double-strike as India then prised out the dangerous Chloe Tryon as she tamely lobbed a return catch to Radha. At 131 for 4 in 15 overs, South Africa needed a big finish to get near the 189 they made on Friday. It wasn't until the 19th that they got that, when Shreyanka was hit for four fours in a 20-run over by Bosch, who more than made up for a sluggish start to finish with a 32-ball 40.
Annerie Dercksen then finished the innings off in a blaze of boundaries, three of them off Vastrakar, to take South Africa to 177 before the rain came down and killed what could've been an exciting chase.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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