Chennai, Jul 4: Indian women's team will be eager to use the three-match T20I series against South Africa, beginning here from Friday, as a testbed to finetune its strategies before hitting the road to the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup.

In fact, this is India's last white ball bilateral series ahead of the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka from July 19 and the ICC showpiece in Bangladesh from October 4.

In that context, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side will leave no stone unturned in their effort to embark for those big events in the best possible frame of mind.

They have displayed signs of it too in the preceding three-match ODI series in Bengaluru and in the one-off Test here.

The relentless India have won all those assignments despite the Proteas creating pockets of fight.

Since 2023, India have featured in seven T20I series, winning three of them and losing four. They would certainly want to bridge that gap, however narrow it might be.

India will take consolation from the form of their players in the first two legs of this series.

In the ODIs, vice-captain and star batter Smriti Mandhana shone brightly with two hundreds and a fifty in three matches, while Harmanpreet found her feet with a hundred in the final ODI.

The only jarring note of that triumphant run might have been the shoddy form of opener Shafali Verma but she allayed the concerns with a fiery double hundred, the quickest in women's cricket, in the one-off Test here.

Jemimah Rodrigues and Richa Ghosh too have shown sparks of regaining their touch, and these batters occupy the first five places in India's run-makers' list in the shortest format.

So, the team management will eye a flawless outing from this quintet against South Africa, who are coming off a less than satisfactory outing against the Lankans at home in the T20Is.

India's bowling too looks very strong on paper, as pacers Renuka Singh, Pooja Vastrakar and Arundhati Reddy have been on the money, while spinners Deepti Sharma,

Radha Yadav, Asha Shobana and Shreyanka Patil present a formidable force.

From a South African perspective, they will depend heavily on skipper Laura Wolvaardt for runs up the order and early momentum.

Wolvaardt showed her prolific side slamming a century each in the ODIs and in the one-off Test.

The opener's form will be a crucial factor if SA want to win a T20I series since January last year when they prevailed in a home tri-series also involving India and the West Indies.

“We have played a lot of good cricket in patches, but to narrow it down, we have to be more consistent,” all-rounder Chloe Tryon had mentioned in the pre-match press meet.

But the tourists can't lean on Wolvaardt alone as they need runs from Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus, Anneke Bosch and Tazmin Brits.

Nonkululeko Mlaba and Masabata Klaas, Nadine de Klerk and Ayabonga Khaka will have to be at their absolute best against this Indian batting line-up.

The Proteas will also hope that they can get a few overs from the experienced Kapp, who has not bowled in the series so far as she is recovering from an injury.

Although the MA Chidambaram pitch generally remains on the sluggish side, it was a smoother one in the one-off Test.

So, the teams will be keeping an eye on its nature too ahead of this series.

Teams (from): India Women: Harmanpreet Kaur (C) Smriti Mandhana (vc), Uma Chetry (wk), Richa Ghosh (wk), Dayalan Hemalatha, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Amanjot Kaur, Shreyanka Patil, Sajeevan Sajana, Deepti Sharma, Asha Sobhana, Arundhati Reddy, Renuka Singh, Shabnam Shakil, Pooja Vastrakar and Radha Yadav.

South Africa Women: Laura Wolvaardt (C), Tazmin Brits, Mieke de Ridder (wk), Sinalo Jafta (wk), Anneke Bosch, Nadine de Klerk, Annerie Dercksen, Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus, Chloe Tryon, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Eliz-Mari Marx, Nonkululeko Mlaba and Tumi Sekhukhune.

Match starts: 7.00 pm (IST). PTI