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Smriti Mandhana praises tailenders for showing grit

Mandhana said ‘the team remembered the World Cup final’.

SNS |

Indian women’s cricket team led by Mithali Raj won the opening ODI match by one wicket and had taken the lead of 1-0 in the on-going three-match One Day International (ODI) series against England.

Talking about the match at post-match conference, Indian opener Smriti Mandhana said ‘the team remembered the World Cup final’.

Smriti has been in prolific form lately. She scored four half centuries and one ton in her last seven ODI appearances.

“I have been timing the ball really well in the nets and that is what I have been applying in the match also,” Mandhana said, adding, “My coach always says that whenever you are in good form you have to make it count because when the runs are not coming that time the scores should speak.”

“It was a very different innings for me. I have never played this slow ever in my life, but I had to play according to the condition. We were chasing 207, so I thought it was really important for me to bat throughout. Being a left-hander it would be hard for the other bowlers to bowl on a length.”

Mandhana even revealed that entire women team including skipper Mithali Raj was tense towards the end. “Everyone was nervous today. Generally, Mithali di is very calm, but today even she was a bit nervous, we were all remembering the World Cup final. The way Poonam and Ekta di finished it was brilliant.”

On Friday, Mithali Raj had become the most capped women ODI player in the world. Talking to media at the post-match presentation, Mithali revealed that “the memories of Lord’s did come rushing back”.

“Yeah, it did, because at one point we needed 35 (37) runs and that’s when Smriti got out. But we still had five wickets in hand. I think what the tail did not manage at the World Cup final they managed to do today,” said Mithali.

“Quite proud of Poonam and Ekta Bisht, who held their nerves at crucial times and got us through. It was an eye-opener for all of us to know that though we have a top order in place we require a lower middle-order and the tail to contribute in such games where we get a start but somewhere in the middle overs if we lose back-to-back wickets it is important that the bowlers score runs.”

“Poonam bowled really well, got us the back into the game,” said Raj. “At one point when the England openers were going really well, she got us those three wickets in a couple of overs, and that put the brakes on the runs.”

Vice-captain of England cricket team as well the hero of Women World Cup 2017, Anya Shrubsole was captaining England for the first time in the injury-enforced absence of Heather Knight. Talking about her defeat Anya said she was proud of the way her team fought right till the end.

“Brilliant game of cricket and credit to India for the way that they have played,” Shrubsole said, adding, “Really proud of the girls the way they stuck in and almost got the noses ahead at the end but it sets up nicely for the rest of the series.

“We always knew that it was going to be easier to bat with the new ball and Tammy (Beaumont) and Dannielle (Wyatt) did brilliantly there. It was always going to get harder against their quality spinners with the ball getting older and that is what it showed, I think for both innings. It was really difficult for the new batters to start, but again we fought so hard to get a total we could bowl at and it was almost enough.”

The second match of the three-match ODI series will be played in Nagpur on Monday 9 April.