Just told girls these are last 20 overs, don’t know when we’ll get cricket again: Smriti Mandhana

November 10, 2020

CricketWomens T20 Challenge

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/smriti-mandhana-womens-t20-challenge-2020-winner-post-match-interview-7032651/

Trailblazers defended a modest 118 with a brilliant bowling display to topple two-time champions Supernovas by 16 runs and win their maiden Women’s T20 Challenge trophy on Monday.

The summit clash turned out to be a low-scoring affair and it was not the best advert for women’s cricket with strokeplay proving to be extremely difficult on a slow surface.

Barring Trailblazers Smriti Mandhana (68 off 49), the batswomen from either side struggled to get going. In response to Trailblazers’ 118/8, Supernovas could only manage 102/7.

Bangladesh star Salma Khatun (3/18) eclipsed Radha Yadav’s (5/16) sensational five-wicket haul to fashion a comprehensive win for her team.

Harmanpreet was also struggling with her fitness during her innings which was eventually ended by Salma, sealing the game for her team.

Speaking at the post-match presentation, the Supernova skipper said, “The injury isn’t that bad. We couldn’t do it this time but it is part of the game and we’ll take it as a learning. It wasn’t that tough a total to chase but we just didn’t get partnerships. We needed two good partnerships, but we didn’t. It was really tough for me; while fielding only I got hurt but you have got to be there for the team. I tried my best but couldn’t win it for the team. Sitting at home was really difficult, but we have to respect the things that are going on and be safe. Yes definitely, women’s cricket is back.”

Player of the match and winning captain Smriti Mandhana was all smiles as she spoke after the game.

“The first one two months of the lockdown was good to spend time with the family. But I think in the last three-four months we got time to go out and start hitting some balls. It was a good time for all of us to go back and work on ourselves which we don’t get usually. My wicket was crucial because this wicket was tough to bat on. The set batsman needed to bat on, 140 was quite achievable and this is what I need to work on in finishing innings.”

When asked what was the talk at halftime with 118 on the scoreboard, Mandhana said, “I just told the girls that these are the last 20 overs of the tournament. Because of the covid situation, we don’t know when we’ll come out next, so we wanted to give it our all. It was a hard wicket to bat on and we had quality spinners. 135 would have been ideal but nevertheless, 118 was good on this wicket. This experience was amazing to go out in the nets with the overseas players and our youngsters, It was nice to exchange knowledge and cultures to see how cricket is played in their countries. It was nice for the youngsters to be able to bowl to players like Dottin before being selected into the national side.”

Nonetheless, it was a welcome return to the field for Indian players who were out of action since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brief Scores:
Trailblazers: 118/8 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 68; Radha Yadav 5/16).
Supernovas: 102/7 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 30; Salma Khatun 3/18, Deepti Sharma 2/9).

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