It’s not for nothing that Smriti Mandhana was named the ICC woman cricketer of the year in 2018. In the first T20I of the three-match series yesterday against New Zealand, Mandhana spearheaded India’s chase. She went on to score India’s fastest fifty in T20I off just 24 deliveries bettering her own record.
When Mandhana was batting, India were cruising towards the target of 160. But her wicket in the 12th over turned out to be the turning point of the game. India suffered a batting collapse of gigantic proportions. They lost 9 wickets for just 34 runs, losing the match by 23 runs.
The 22-year-old did not look happy with her 34-ball 58 as she said after the match,
“You never know what your best is. I can’t limit myself to a 60 and say it is my best. If I can chase my total and if I win matches for India, then only it would be my best.”
She understood the need of a set batter towards the end of the innings and took the blame on herself.
“My wicket along with Jemimah’s [Jemimah Rodrigues] turned out to be crucial. If you get out back-to-back in T20, it proves costly. When you are chasing 160 and the run-rate is above 7 or 8, next time we have to plan and play better. It didn’t work out today,”
At this point India are too reliant on skipper Harmanpreet Kaur’s ability to finish off matches. Mithali Raj’s exclusion from the playing XI hurt India too. Mandhana also came up with a solution which she finds practical in the runchases to come.
“Practically, I would say I have to bat till 20 overs, that is the best option. The more I bat till 18 overs, we won’t collapse because if the top three or 4 batters can bat till the 18-20th overs then rest can revolve around them, so tactically that is what I will try to do,” she further added.
Currently, Mandhana has hit a purple patch. Her performances will be crucial if India are to win the T20I series against New Zealand.
World No 1 batter makes her debut on Chahal TV@mandhana_smriti has been taking her batting inspiration from this leg spinner . Find out who it is in this fun segment of @yuzi_chahal TV – by @RajalArora
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 7, 2019