I have to bat till 20 overs, says Smriti Mandhana after India lose to New Zealand

I have to bat till 20 overs, says Smriti Mandhana after India lose to New Zealand

Smriti smashed the fastest half-century in T20Is for India in the game.

Smriti Mandhana
Smriti Mandhana. (Photo Source: MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

It was a poor day at the office for both India’s men and women’s team in Wellington. Rohit Sharma’s men were thumped by a rejuvenated New Zealand by 80 runs in their first match of the three-game series. And before that, Harmanpreet Kaur’s side lost to their Kiwi counterparts by 23 runs in their first game of the series. The twin losses came after the men and women dominated their respective opponents in the ODI series.

Women’s team lost last nine wickets for just 34 runs

While the men’s team was thoroughly outplayed in their game, the women were very much in a position to bag the game before they lost their plot midway into the chase, thanks to a dramatic collapse. India vice-captain Smriti Mandhana (58) and Jemimah Rodrigues (39) put up 98 runs for the second wicket in quick time before the former got caught. From 1 for 102 in 11.3 overs when Smriti fell, India were folded for 136 in the 20th over. None other than captain Harmanpreet (17) out of the last eight batters managed to reach the two-figure mark.

The disappointing loss left Smriti, like her team members, distraught. And the repeated instances of failure of the middle-order at crunch moments have made Smriti believe that she has to practically bat for the entire innings if India needs to successfully chase down the targets.

“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 today,” Smriti said in post-match press conference.

Jemimah returned to the pavilion after India added a run after Smriti’s departure. Jemimah’s 39 came in 33 balls and included six boundaries as against seven boundaries and three sixes that Smriti belted during her 34-ball innings. “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,” Smriti said, hinting at the lack of finishers in India’s batting line-up.

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