Wellington: The repeated failure of India’s middle-order to up the game when it matters has convinced Indian vice-captain Smriti Mandhana that she has to ‘practically bat for 18 to 20 overs’ for the team to stay in hunt during stiff chases.
Mandhana smashed a 58-run knock off 34 balls but the Indian women’s cricket team failed to make it count as they were dismissed for 136 all out while chasing a target of 160. “My wicket along with Jemimah’s 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,” Mandhana said after the match.
“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 the rest can revolve around them, so tactically that is what I will try to do,” Mandhana said but it was also an indication that the current middle-order lacks a finisher.
Mandhana bettered her record of fastest fifty by an Indian en route to a 58-run knock off 34 balls.
Asked if was her best, she responded: “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.” Mandhana said though they conceded a few runs in the end, the team should have been able to chase the target. “We almost got our run-rate under 7, which was great but definitely we gave away 10-15 runs extra in the end while bowling. We had got (Suzie) Bates and (Sophie) Devine and we don’t want the middle order score but the wicket was good and batsmen should have chased the target,” she said.
“The way we played the ODI series, even in this game we were cruising till 12th over but in T20 there is always a collapse. So next time we have to keep that in mind as a batting unit. You have to select the areas” Down 0-1 in the three-T20I series, Mandhana said the team will be under pressure. “Being 1-0 down, we will be under the pump, everyone will be aiming to be better than what we were and win the next two matches for India, that is what were are thinking ”
Wind came into play at the Westpac Stadium and Mandhana said she kept that factor in mind while taking on-field decisions. “We were thinking of taking pacers and spinners from whichever way the wind was going. According to the wind, we were thinking of bowling at the stumps or outside the stumps, even while batting we were having the discussion but the wind was going in one direction or other,” she said.