Deepti Sharma returned with the figures of 4-3-8-3 as India beat South Africa in the series opener. AFP

Deepti Sharma starred with the ball as India women beat South Africa women in the first match of the five-match Twenty20 internationals series at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium in Surat on Tuesday.

India, put in to bat, were restricted to 130/8 as Shabnim Ismail and Nadine de Klerk shared five wickets between themselves.

Harmanpreet Kaur, leading the side, scored 43 off 34 balls, hitting three fours and two sixes, while vice-captain Smriti Mandhana scored 21 from 16 balls.

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With India defending a modest total, the bowlers needed to come to the party and the hosts made it happen. While Shikha Pandey (2/18), Poonam Yadav (2/25) and Radha Yadav (2/29) scalped two wickets each, it was Sharma who was the standout performer.

The right-arm off spinner was the difference between a win and a defeat. The 22-year-old returned with the figures of 4-3-8-3 as India managed to pip South Africa by 11 runs despite a 43-ball 59-run blitz from Mignon du Preez.

Sharma, who came into the attack in the third over, bowled in three spells, bowling the third and fifth over (in her first spell) of the innings, then returning into the attack, bowling the 14th over (in her second spell) before returning to bowl the penultimate over of the match to complete her quota of four overs.

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While India used her services in three different spells, she bowled with a great control and bowled three maiden overs as she became the first Indian to bowl three maiden over in T20Is.

At one point, her bowling figures read 3-3-0-3 as she dismissed Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk (both in the second over) and Shabnim Ismail in her third over of the match.

She conceded eight runs in the 19th over of the match but by then India had gained an upperhand of sorts, with South Africa pushed in a corner.

India, courtesy Sharma’s performance, beat the Sune Luus-led unit in the series opener and took 1-0 lead in the five-match series.