Wednesday, October 5, 2022

ICC: Mandhana admits to nervous nineties

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Smriti Mandhana prayed to multiple gods when she offered a catch on 96 – and it worked.

Aaliyah Alleyne put it down and Mandhana went on to make 123 to help India women to a 155-run win over West Indies women.

Mandhana steadied a rocked India ship after they slipped to 78 for three after a fast start from Yastika Bhatia.

The 25-year-old put on 184 runs with fellow centurion Harmanpreet Kaur to turn the tide and put the game out of reach.

Windies put on 100 in 12 overs but ultimately fell way short of their target of 318 runs as they lost their first game of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 in Hamilton.

“I had a little bit of the nervous nineties today and I was a little nervous about that ball going up in the air and I prayed to two, three gods saying please let the player drop it,” Mandhana said.

“And she [Mohammed] put it down so I should thank her actually because otherwise I would have got out on 96.

“It wasn’t a typical one [innings] where I just go in a flow and I start playing my shots, so I was really pleased that I could put some brakes on my scoring rate and play according to the situation and then contribute for India’s win.

“I think that’s something which I really look forward to every day when I come out to bat and I’m happy that I could do that today.”

Mandhana shared her Player of the Match award with Harmanpreet after the pair made India’s record partnership in a World Cup, with the latter making back-to-back fifties for the first time since 2017.

She said: “She’s a very crucial part of our batting order, especially in the middle order and I’m really happy that she’s come back and I think from the practice game, she’s been batting well, so we’re really confident that she’ll be able to score runs in this tournament.

“I’m happy that she got back-to-back fifties and most importantly, I think today’s century will give her a lot of confidence and I think the whole team as well because we were not in a great place to start with and from there for her to come in and bat and get us out of that situation, it was an incredible innings.”

Two more records were broken as Mithali Raj captained her 24th game at a World Cup, the most by any woman, before Jhulan Goswami took her 40th wicket in the competition, another standalone record.

But it was with the bat that the game was won as West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor admitted she was surprised by how attacking India’s openers were.

She said: “I’m going to be honest, yes they did surprise me and I probably think they surprised all of us really.

“The way they went out today, they had a plan and right away I figured that yes, they had a plan. 

“I thought they stuck to their plan and it worked. I thought their batters did well they got two hundreds and with the ball, we just didn’t execute as we would like.”

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