Women Cricket

Preview: South Africa vs India U19 series

Preview: South Africa vs India U19 series

South Africa will host India’s U19 team for five-match T20 series ahead of the 1st ever Women’s U19 World Cup. Both teams are coming after a decent amount of international as well as domestic tournaments and this series will help them to sort things out in terms of the line-up, batting order and more.

South Africa vs India U19 series- South Africa U19 team

South Africa U19 team had a decent amount of practice getting into this series. Most of the players featured in the South Africa U19 team against the Namibia U19 team earlier this year followed by the Emerging players’ team then the Senior Provincial T20 competition, and the most recent WSL 4. 

Of all the players, the one to keep an eye on is Seshnie Naidu. The spinner has been outstanding throughout the year and even ended as the leading wicket-taker for South Africa Emerging women’s team against Zimbabwe senior team a few months ago. Also, in the recent WSL 4 match against Coronations, she dismissed Lara Goodall and ended with the figures of 2/14 from her four overs. 

Another important player to keep an eye on is the opener Karabo Meso. She is one of the consistent performers in recent times for the team. She will be fighting for the opening spot alongside Elandri Janse Van Rensburg and Simone Lourens. 

Elandri Janse Van Rensburg is more attacking than the other two. A couple of seasons ago, she ended up as the leading run-scorer of U16 National Girls week. She had 326 runs to her name. She was a part of the recent Emerging team as well where she played two matches. 

In the series against Zimbabwe U19, she ended as one of the leading run-scorers alongside skipper Oluhle Siyo. 

Also, She bagged the Girls U19 Player award in the most recent CSA Awards ceremony.

Simone Lourens and Kayla Reyneke were also part of the Emerging team but before that, they helped out South Africa U19 to pick up a massive win over Namibia U19 women in September. Reyneke scored 72 while Lourens made 54. Of course, Reyneke will be rolling her arms for a few good overs of spin. 

Siyo, on the other hand, might be promoted to open if needed. She ended up as the top scorer in almost every single game against the Zimbabwe U19 team in November. Her scores included 66,42,34*.

Ayanda Hlubi is probably the fastest out there but was struggling for proper line and length in recent matches but is usually just too good to be missed out here.

Interestingly, the vice-captain Madison Landman didn’t bat much in the recent WSL 4. She is one of the attacking batters in the team. Landman, who idolizes Ellyse Perry, ended up scoring 185 runs from just 64 deliveries for her school team in 2019 when she was around 15.

Yet another Ellyse Perry fan out there is Anica Swart. The wicket-keeper batter is likely to feature in all the games and is expected to bat at number 5-7.  Swart captained the U19 team in the recently concluded WSL 4.

Legodi Monalisa is likely to take the new ball with Ayanda Hlubi. Caitlin Wyngaard and Diara Ramlakan might not get a lot of chances here as they, unfortunately, aren’t a part of the main team but are named as reserves.

From what I have seen, the battle between Wyngaard and Shweta Sehrawat at the top would’ve been an interesting one. Wyngaard targets the stumps more, a line that troubled Shweta during the recent series against the New Zealand Development team. 

Refilwe Moncho’s rise after her knee problem in 2020 has been remarkable. Last year, she picked up a fifer for the Lions and is one of the young pacers to keep an eye on. 

Nthabiseng Nini is yet another bowler who has been making waves for years now. She was not even 14 when she made her debut in the senior state team for North West, and most recently, she picked up seven wickets in two T20s against Namibia U19.

Nini, Moncho, Monalisa and Hlubi will be fighting for three spots in the line-up. 

Oluhle Siyo is expected to bowl a few overs here. Seshnie Naidu and Jemma Botha taking the spinners’ spots.

Jemma Botha’s recent best has to be her 3/25 against the Zimbabwe U19 team in October.

South Africa vs India U19 series- India U19 team:

With just a few days to go, this series is important for the Indian U19 team to sort out the batting combination. The addition of Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh is certainly a big boost for the U19 team, but it also comes up with a bit of confusion when it comes to the batting order. 

The captain Shafali Verma is expected to open the batting with vice-captain Shweta Sherawat, who top-scored in almost every single tournament since the Challengers Trophy. By this point, everyone must be aware of the fact that she loves and prefers off-side and that’s one reason why she struggled a bit against the New Zealand Development team. It will be interesting to see how she goes here. 

Shweta Sherawat and Soumya Tiwari led this Indian team before this series, and their insights will certainly play a vital role here, as Shafali Verma is new to this whole group.

Soumya opened the batting against the New Zealand Development team, but with Shafali Verma coming in, she is likely to bat at number three. Notably, Tiwari, who idolizes Virat Kohli, loves to bat at number three more than any other spot.

READ: Soumya Tiwari on the rise – Penbugs

This also means the experienced Trisha will be batting a bit down the order followed by Sonia Mendiya and Richa Ghosh. 

Coming to the bowlers, Falak Naz, Titas Sadhu, and Shabnam are fighting for two spots here while Hurley Gala could be playing in almost all the games because of her all-round ability.

Gala picked up seven wickets against the New Zealand Development team as well. To take you back to U19 One Day Trophy this year, Mumbai even opened with Gala once when they needed to score quickly. 

Also, both Falak Naz and Titas Sadhu bat up the order for their club as well as domestic state teams. 

Read: In conversation with Bengal all-rounder Titas Sadhu – Penbugs

When it comes to the spinners, Mannat Kashyap is likely to play all the matches while others might be rotated based on the team’s needs. 

With Soumya Tiwari all set to get back to bowling, Archana and Parshavi Chopra might not get regular chances. Also, during the last Senior T20 Trophy, Haryana captain Shafali Verma opted to open the bowling with Sonia Mendiya. One shouldn’t be surprised if that happens here as well. Also, Shafali Verma is unlikely to bowl regularly here.

If the India U19 Team are focussing more on getting the line-up right, they might not go with Shikha Shalot, Najla CMC, and Yashashree in many matches as they aren’t in the main team but named as travelling reserves.

Hrishita Basu will have to sit out of the team mostly because of Richa Ghosh’s inclusion. Basu, who batted during the death overs in recent domestic tournaments, helped the India team out of danger multiple times. Those important cameos where she was able to clear the boundary with ease, will be missed if she doesn’t make it to the team. 

From what I have seen of Basu, she is a better keeper than Richa Ghosh. She is fast, energetic and rarely misses out. She is also a good fielder, and when Nandini Kashyap kept wickets for India, she was mostly standing at the covers and was hitting the stumps for fun. 

However, if she gets into the team, it will be difficult to say whom she would replace. 

Since this top-order is very strong, we didn’t get to see a lot of Titas Sadhu and Falak Naz with the bat. They both are very capable of scoring big runs in the latter part of the innings, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if they go on to score something big here. 

Last year in the U19 Challenger Trophy, Falak Naz played an absolute blinder where she ended with 45 from just 29 deliveries. 

No doubt, the team is going to experiment with a lot of things in this series.

South Africa vs India U19 Teams:

South Africa U19 Squad:

Karabo Meso, Simone Lourens, Oluhle Siyo, Elandri Janse Van Rensburg, Jenna Evans, Anica Swart, Jemma Botha, Miane Smit, Seshnie Naidu, Madison Landman, Kayla Reyneke, Refilwe Moncho, Ayanda Hlubi, Nthabiseng Nini, Monalisa Legodi, Caitlin Wyngaard, Diara Ramlakan

India U19 Squad:

Shafali Verma (Captain), Shweta Sehrawat (Vice-Captain), Richa Ghosh (WK), Gongadi Trisha, Soumya Tiwari, Sonia Mendhiya, Hurley Gala, Hrishita Basu (WK), Sonam Yadav, Mannat Kashyap, Archana Devi, Parshavi Chopra, Titas Sadhu, Falak Naz, Shabnam MD, Shikha Shalot, Najla CMC, Yashashree

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