ICC Women's World Cup 2017: Dominant India eye semi-final berth against strong South Africa
Unbeaten so far, India will seek to extend their winning run in the ongoing ICC Women's World Cup 2017 against South Africa on Saturday. Another victory will take Mithali Raj-led India closer to the semi-final spot of the coveted event. India have been on a rampage so far, having beaten hosts England, West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka comprehensively to claim the second spot in the points table behind top-ranked Australia. South Africa, on the other hand, are fifth with two wins and a loss from four games with one ending in a washout.
Not only because of the good cricket they have been playing in the tournament, India will also take heart from their recent success against South Africa, whom they beat in the final of a Quadrangular series in May.
"We are quite confident for the game against South Africa because in the last four or five games we have played against them we have done well," said Veda Krishnamurthy on eve of the game.
"We are aware of their team, we know what combinations and players are there, so we can play according to our strengths. We played them a couple of months back so we know their strengths and weaknesses.
"We are more compact than them because individually, South Africa are very good, but when it comes to collective performance, they really depend on their main players to do well," she added.
India were able to defend 232 in their previous game Sri Lanka although they looked like posting a bigger total after the launch pad provided by Deepti Sharma (78) and skipper Mithali Raj (53). With 206 runs at 68.66, stylish opener Smriti Mandhana remains India's leading run-getter despite failures in the last two games.
Raj has led from the front, scoring 178 runs in four games, which includes two half-centuries.
The spin trio of Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav and Deepti Sharma have been the backbone of India's bowling, sharing 19 wickets amongst them. They face South Africa, who are looking to bounce back from the England loss after the hosts amassed the fifth highest score in World Cup history to win by 68 runs.
But captain Dane van Niekerk believes her bowlers can reproduce the team's stunning form that saw them bowl the West Indies out for 48 at the same venue.
She said: "Our bowlers don't like getting hit like that, I am sure they will come back firing even stronger so I am excited to see what they will do in the next few days and how they are going to go about their work.
"It doesn't mean their skills have gone away in just one game, and it doesn't mean the West Indies game was a fluke. We are a good bowling side, every team in the world has had days like this.
"India are a brilliant batting side, they have a lot of spinners and they are on a high. They are playing really good cricket at the moment and they are the ones to beat."
South Africa: Dane van Niekerk (C), Trisha Chetty. Moseline Daniels, Nadine de Klerk, Mignon du Preez, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Andrie Steyn, Chloe Tryon, Laura Wolvaardt, Odine Kirsten
India: Mithali Raj (C), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smrti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey, Poonam, Nuzhat Parween, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma, Smriti Mandhana.
(With PTI Inputs)