Recently Smriti Mandhana has looked to play more strokes in T20 cricket. Mandhana scored a brisk 42-ball 63 in India’s eight-wicket win over Pakistan in the Commonwealth Games. Her unbeaten half-century against Pakistan, was an example of an innings where she mixed power with elegance to hit big shots. The knock was studded with eight crisp boundaries and three sixes.
After opting to bat first, Pakistan was bowled out for 99 runs in 18 overs, and India gunned down the target in just 11.4 overs
In an interaction with Indian Express in December last year, the Indian opener had said the how experience of playing in the franchise cricket will help her to become a better T20I cricketer. Smriti played for Southern Brave in ‘The Hundred, while in the WBBL, she was part of the Sydney Thunder team.
“For me, power-hitting is just another brand of cricket. In today’s cricket you need it. In the T20Is, you have to be aggressive. As an opener, you have to make the most of the powerplay and give your team a flying start. This is what I have worked on in the recent past, considering the amount of T20 cricket we are going to play in the next 12 months,” Mandhana had said.
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“Earlier, I used to rely on my timing because I don’t have that much power. For me, power-hitting was just another brand of cricket. I used to think one doesn’t need the power to get a certain strike rate. You can score quick runs with timing as well. For me, it is to play smartly and manipulate the field. But when you see the likes of Harmanpreet Kaur and Shafali verma hitting sixes for fun, it propelled me to play more shots then I used to do,” she added.
In the past 18 months, apart from going from one bio-bubble to another, Team India’s vice-captain had a fruitful stint in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia and ‘The Hundred.’
The 26-year-old had also spoken about how the net sessions in England and Australia, which are quite different from those in India, have provided rich dividends.
“Net sessions vary from team to team, whether you are playing with your domestic team or the national team. But in England and Australia, what I noticed was that they do more fitness sessions than the skills. Their skill sessions are very limited. While in India we focus equally on fitness and skills sessions,” she said.
With Shafali at the other end, the Indian team has probably the most attacking opening pair in the world. From the first two matches, one can feel that both the openers have the license to play their games right from the start, which is undoubtedly an exciting template.
Brief Scores: Pakistan Women: 99 all out in 18 overs (Muneeba 32; Rana 2/15, Radha 2/18) bt India Women: 102 for 2 in 11.4 overs (Mandhana 63*)