Photo Credit: ICC
Smriti Mandhana described her career-best T20I innings as ‘one of the toughest’ she has played after helping India overcome Ireland and seal a semi-final berth at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023.
Mandhana was dropped four times on her way to a match-defining 87 which helped swing a rain-affected encounter in India’s direction, the 2020 runners-up winning by five runs on DLS after Ireland’s reply was ended by the elements two balls into the ninth over.
She now has 149 runs for the tournament, more than any other player despite missing the opening game through injury, and will enter the knockout stages full of confidence after battling through testing conditions in Gqeberha.
“It was one of the toughest innings I have played,” she said.
“Not in terms of the wicket, but the pace they were bowling and the wind.
“It was really hard work for the first 20 balls, I thought I had forgotten how to bat, but I had to tell myself to get through to the better conditions later.
“At first, I thought I was batting really badly and not many people who came in were able to time the ball well.
“There was a lot of hard work and we were not used to the pace they were bowling at but soon we started middling it.”
Mandhana, who struck nine fours and three sixes in her 56-ball knock, will now be plotting a similar impact in a semi-final set to be against reigning champions Australia as India look to avenge their defeat in the final three years ago.
“It is good to score a few runs ahead of the semis and the team is looking really well,” she added.
“The England match didn’t go how we wanted it to go but we learned a lot of lessons and we will now try and win the semis and the final.”
Ireland captain Laura Delany was rebuilding effectively alongside Gaby Lewis when the rain intervened, the pair putting on an unbroken stand of 53 after seeing two wickets fall inside the first five balls.
They depart with four defeats in as many group stage matches but Delany, who also shone with the ball by taking three for 33, is pleased with how her side have acquitted themselves at their first ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in five years.
“It [rain] came out of nowhere and we weren’t really prepared for it,” she said.
“We weren’t really looking at the DLS score as Gaby and I were just trying to build a partnership and trying to find any boundaries that came our way.
“We have shown what we are capable of at times in this competition. We beat Australia in a warm-up game and we are improving all the time.
“There are areas we still want to improve on, particularly in the fielding, but overall it has been a positive experience.
“Orla Prendergast has gone from strength to strength and if we can all emulate her and take some of the confidence she has played with, we’ll head in the right direction.”