Indian Women Cricket Team played it’s 100th T20I

Indian Women Cricket Team played it's 100th T20I

With the second Twenty20 International match on February 8, 2019, at Eden Park in Auckland against New Zealand, the Indian women cricket team has completed a century in Twenty20 International cricket. Unfortunately, Indian women lost their 100th T20I appearance after losing the second T20I against the hosts. 

Till date, Indian women cricket team have won 53 out of the 100 matches played so far and lost 45. They are currently in the Kiwi land playing the three-match T20I series. Although women in blue won the three-match ODI series against New Zealand 2-1, they failed to impress in the T20 version.

Indian women lost the first T20 match at Wellington. Smriti Mandhana’s blistering half-century couldn’t save the game. She bettered her own record of fastest fifty by an Indian by just one ball. She reached 50-mark off 24 deliveries. However, New Zealand pacer Lea Tahuhu’s magical spell won the match for the Kiwis. She managed three scalps off her four overs. On Friday the eves were determined to level the series. But with the toss, the match almost went to the Kiwis’ court. The White Ferns won the toss and elected to bat first. Thanks to Jemimah’s 72 Indian women could set a target of 135. Chasing 136 New Zealand showed absolute calmness. Suzie Bates scored 62 off 52 balls. Finally, they won the match and took the lead of 2-0 to win the series.

Also Read: Talking points of the 1st T20I

The eves hold a better record against the Kiwis compared to their male counterparts. So far they have won three out of nine matches against the hosts whereas the men’s team have won just two times out of eight matches. Indian women cricket team are the sixth team to achieve this milestone. The list has Australia, England, Pakistan, New Zealand, and West Indies in the top five to complete 100 T20I matches.

Mithali Raj, the veteran Indian player was left out the two T20 matches against the White Ferns. She in all likelihood will retire from T20 International after the home series against England. She will continue to lead the side in the 50-over format.

Mithali less India collapses against New Zealand despite Mandhana’s record fifty

Mithali less India collapses against New Zealand despite Mandhana's record fifty

From a winning position of 102 for 1 in the 12th over to bowled out for 136 in their chase of 159 in 20 overs, New Zealand registered a 23-run victory in the first T20I at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. 

Mithali Raj again found herself out of the playing XI after India’s tragic end in the semi-final of ICC World T20 2018 against England. Mithali has scored 51 and 56 in her last two outings. After India’s 23 runs lost, T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur said Raj’s exclusion was “only” to give more chances to the youngsters in the team, keeping the 2020 World Cup in mind.

“Well, we are just looking to give chance to young girls,” Harmanpreet said. “We only have these three overseas games and after that, we are playing in more Indian conditions and I think that’s the only reason we’re giving chances to the young girls.”

However, Kaur praised the bowlers for their efforts.

“Bowlers did really well as this track was really good to bat on. We still restricted them to 159. But in the last 10 overs we didn’t bat well,” Harmanpreet Kaur said. “We need to improve our batting in the last 10 overs. That is the area we are always struggling. We need someone who can give us a good strike-rate when we are finishing the innings.”

Talking points of the match:

Smriti Mandhana’s ravishing form:

Image Source – Dainik Bhaskar

India’s left-hand opener Smriti Mandhana has been in a great form for the last year. Having smashed centuries in South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia, she has become a trump card of India in overseas. While playing against New Zealand during the first T20I match, she broke her own record of smashing half-century in 25 balls. Today she took 24 balls, the fastest ever T20I half-century by an Indian in Women’s Cricket.

She never looked under pressure while facing Lea Tahuhu while others were struggling. India are over-dependent on Mandhana we can say now. She got dismissed after scoring 58 off 34 and felt that she should have batted till the end and she should be more careful with shot selection.

“Tactically, the best option according to me is that I bat all through. But we will have a discussion about this and I feel it is better that one of the top batters bat through till the 18th over or so so that after that the rest can rally around them,” Smriti Mandhana said after the match. “You have to pick the areas and go for the correct shots. And when we had the run rate under control, under seven, my shot was a bad one to play.”

Lack of partnership in the middle-order:

Image Source – The Week

India were flying high with the Mandhana-Rodrigues’ stormy innings. After Mithali Raj’s exclusion from the squad and Priya Punia made her debut, India were setting a core team for the next T20 World Cup in 2020. But Punia’s debut match didn’t go well as she fell for 4.

Soon, the situation got changed as Mandhana, along with Jemimah Rodrigues took the charge. Both started hitting all over the park. When they got their eyes in, it became difficult for the bowlers to get past them. Both added 98 runs for the second wicket and India reached 102 after 11.3 overs before Mandhana’s dismissal. Hannah Rowe took a well-judged catch at deep-cover and sent her in. Rodrigues was next to follow.

Apart from their innings and Harmanpreet Kaur’s 17 off 15, no other batter was able to reach the double-digit. In a chase of 160, India were bundled out within 136 as the middle and lower middle order batters were unable to carry the momentum till the end. Till the 12th over, the game was pretty much in India’s court as they were at 102/1 but a dismal batting performance under pressure from the middle and lower middle order caused their defeat.

“We were cruising till the 12th over, but in T20 there is always a chance of collapse and we have to be watchful from now on. I don’t think it’s a good idea to think much about the past and we will have to think about the next match,” said Mandhana.

At times, the team might felt the absence of experienced Mithali Raj; who has the ability to anchor the innings. Arguably one of the best batters in the world, Mithali, would have played the other way in the game.

Also Read: BCCI questioned Harmanpreet over fake Graduation degree

An all-round performance from New Zealand:

Image Source – Sky Sports

Though New Zealand lost their opener, Suzie Bates, very early, another opener Sophie Devine took the anchor’s role. The winning foundation made by her at first. She and Caitlin Gurrey added 36 runs before the later got out for 15.

Then Devine made a partnership with the captain Amy Satterthwaite. Both added 69 runs before Devine’s dismissal. Later Katey Martin ensured that the team went past 150 marks. Her two sixes and one boundary helped her team to reach 159 after 20 overs.

Later, bowlers did the rest of the job. Apart from Mandhana-Rodrigues pair, no other batter troubled White Ferns. Lea Tahuhu was the most successful bowler and ended up taking three wickets for 20. Leigh Kasperek and Amelia Kerr bagged two wickets each while the other bowlers scalped one each. Seven of the last eight batters got dismissed within 33 runs.

With this win, White Ferns have taken an unassailable 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. Both the teams will face each other on Friday, February 6th.

Sana Mir – The Legend in her own way in the history of Cricket

Sana Mir - The Legend in her own way in the history of Cricket

Sana Mir, the former captain of Pakistan, has achieved a rare milestone in her 14-year long International Career with the 100 T20I appearances. 

Cricket has given many legends all over the world since it’s beginning. Sana Mir is one of them. In a country where women’s cricket was not that much popular in later 80s, Mir had started at the age of three and the 1992 World Cup did the rest of the job.

In 1992, Pakistan had won the ICC Cricket World Cup and the thrill of playing for the country didn’t spare Sana Mir. The cricket bug had bit her too, along with the fast bowling; which became popular at that time. Follower of Waqar Younis for the particular liking of the long run-up, she gave up engineering, a safe career than playing cricket in the 90s.

She used to make field setting with the electrons and neutrons on her chemistry notes to become the no. 1 bowler in the ICC ODI Bowling ranking in 2018, the journey was tough as well as inspiring. Having started with the gully cricket, she made her ODI debut in 2005. She was one of the nine debutants for Pakistan to play against Ireland.

Though her debut match went wicketless, she picked up India captain Mithali Raj in the second game. Pakistan were thrashed by India in that match. Even after making an impression with the ball, Mir got a big blow in her life. She got injured in her back which forced her to change her action. At one point, she was even asked to quit due to injury but her urge of playing kept her going.

Also Read: 10 amazing facts about women cricket

Mir didn’t have a cricket team in her school. She used to lead the basketball team, swimming team etc. which gave her the confidence of being a leader. Started performing in every match, she found her among the top 20 bowlers in the ICC Bowlers’ Rankings. No other player from the team could achieve that at that time.

She made her T20I debut against Ireland at Dublin on May 25, 2009. Prior to the ICC World T20, on 4th May 2009, she was named the captain of the team after the then captain Urooj Mumtaz stepped down from the captaincy. In the World Cup press conference, she was asked why did she come here and she confidently replied to win the tournament in her first ever press conference as a captain.

Prior to the big event, Pakistan had played hardly one or two T20 matches. Everyone was shocked because Pakistan was just qualified then. But, somehow her confidence at that time helped her to become one of the best captains as well as players in the world. She has missed only two T20I matches due to injury since her debut in the shortest format.

Sana became the sixth cricketer to feature in 100 T20I matches. The all-rounder of West Indies, Deandra Dottin has played 109 T20I matches has topped the list. From Pakistan, only Shoaib Malik has reached the 100-mark as he has played 110 T20I matches; while Shahid Afridi has played 99 matches so far. Former India captain MS Dhoni and India T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur, both have appeared in 93 matches and Rohit Sharma has played 89 matches till date.

Mir’s 100th T20I match would be memorable for her as Pakistan won the game by 12 runs against West Indies but they couldn’t win the series. Sana Mir bagged three wickets in the three-match T20I series.

In 2013, Mir became the first woman cricketer to win the ‘PCB Woman cricketer of the Year Award’. In the same year, with a not-so-mature team, she led Pakistan to a one-run victory over England for the very first time in any format and continued their winning streak for the 11 matches in a row. Six players had featured in the ICC top 20 players ranking for their eye-catching performances after the end of the tour.

She was the first Pakistan captain either in men or women, to defeat India in an ICC tournament. In the 2010 Asian Games, the team won the gold medal under her captaincy. She was also the captain of the team during their first ever tournament victory in both the T20I and ODI against Sri Lanka in 2011. Pakistan had qualified for the 2012 World T20 and 2013 Women’s World Cup under her captaincy. Pakistan were also able to beat South Africa for the first time ever.

Though Pakistan had a forgettable campaign in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, they bounced back against New Zealand in the ICC Championship series in November 2017. Mir had to step down from the captaincy after the 2017 World Cup but as an all-rounder, she has been playing the key roles like always.

She took a four-wicket haul against New Zealand which helped them to register their maiden ODI win against them. Not only that, her another two 4-wicket hauls against Sri Lanka in March 2018 guided Pakistan to register a clean sweep of the ODI series.

Her 5/32 in ODI against the Netherlands in 2010 is the best figure so far whereas she has two 4-wicket hauls in T20Is. Her 4/13 against Ireland came in 2009 while the next 4/13 came against India in 2012. However, Pakistan won the match against Ireland but against India, they didn’t win; which was the final of the Asia Cup in 2012.

Not only a successful bowler, but she has also played important roles as a batter too. During the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017, on Jul 8, at Taunton, she walked into bat against White Ferns when Pakistan were struggling after the three wickets loss in quick succession. She anchored the innings, played a captain’s knock there and scored 50 off 86.

And, who can forget her fielding skill? Her astonishing mid-wicket catch sent India T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur in the pavilion during their match against India in the ICC Women’s World Cup, 2017. Sana Mir has become the first ever female cricketer from Pakistan to be awarded the ‘Tamgha-e-Imtiaz’ on March 23, 2012, for her services in cricket.

Apart from on the field, she is an amazing person off the field too. Recently, in an advertisement, she fought against body shaming. One of the most admired and celebrated athletes in Pakistan, Sana Mir keeps continuing to inspire the girls all around the world.

Who knows, maybe the best is yet to come…?

Smriti Mandhana tops the chart of ICC ODI batting rankings

Smriti Mandhana tops the chart of ICC ODI batting rankings

India’s left-hand opener Smriti Mandhana has topped the chart of ICC ODI Batting Rankings after scoring a blistering century and a blitz 90* in the three-match ODI series in New Zealand. 

Smriti Mandhana, who surpassed Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry, has moved up three spots in the ODI Batters’ Rankings to reach the no. 1 spot. After scoring the fourth ODI century in the first match of the three-match ODI series, Mandhana also became the first Indian as well as the second woman cricketer to score centuries in South Africa-England-New Zealand-Australia. 

Mandhana, who has been in an impressive form, has scored two centuries and eight half-centuries in 15 matches since the beginning of the last year, 2018. She became India’s one of the most dependable batters as well as the trump card for the overseas. Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry and captain Meg Lanning slipped at the second and the third position respectively.

White Ferns’ captain Amy Satterthwaite, who scored two half-centuries in the recently concluded ODI series against India has jumped to 10 spots up in the rankings and moved to the fourth spot; while her counterpart, the ODI captain of Mithali Raj; who recently played her 200 ODI match, has slipped a spot and currently placed at No 5.

Satterthwaite has scored four half-centuries in her last 10 ODIs while Mithali Raj, too has been in a good form and scored her 52nd ODI half-century against White Ferns.

After having scored a half-century in Hamilton, Former New Zealand captain and one of the best batters of all time, Suzie Bates, who smashed a half-century in the third ODI against India, has moved one place up and currently stays at the fifth spot.

Also read: Smriti Mandhana becomes India’s trump card in overseas

Lizelle Lee of South Africa has dropped down two places and placed at the seventh spot. Tammy Beaumont of England too has moved down two places to No. 8 while Windies captain Stafanie Taylor and Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu both have dropped down by one spot each and completed the top 10 ranking chart.

Jemimah Rodrigues, the batting sensation of India; who have opened the innings for India with another star batter Smriti Mandhana, has scored a half-century in the first ODI against New Zealand in Napier; which helped her to a huge rise in the ranking of 64 places. She now sits at No. 61 in the rankings and she has played just seven ODIs after making her debut in March last year against Australia.

In the bowler’s rankings, India’s pace spearhead Jhulan Goswami has performed really well against New Zealand. She has moved a spot above to No. 4 for her 3/23 in the second match against the Kiwi. Former Pakistan captain Sana Mir, Australia’s speedster Megan Schutt and South Africa all-rounder Marizanne Kapp are placed above Jhulan Goswami in the list.

India’s spin troika Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, and Deepti Sharma have gained five spots each in the chart. Poonam and Deepti have entered the top ten list in the rankings and placed in the eighth and ninth place respectively. Left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht too moved up nine places to No 13 after scalping five wickets in the series against New Zealand.

Lea Tahuhu, the pacer of New Zealand, has bagged four wickets in the series against India and jumped nine places up to No. 16 in the ODI bowling rankings. Anna Peterson, who picked up five wickets in the three matches, had a notable rise of 13 spots and currently placed at No. 45 in the rankings.

There was nearly no change among the all-rounders. Ellyse Perry of Australia is still the No. 1 among the all-rounders’. White Ferns all-rounder Sophie Devine jumped up to one place to No. 9 which means Windies all-rounder Deandra Dottin has moved down to No. 10. Apart from that, there was no change in the top 10 all-rounders’ chart.

Mithali Raj becomes the first woman cricketer to feature in 200 ODIs

Mithali Raj becomes the first woman cricketer to feature in 200 ODIs

Mithali Raj, the ODI captain of India, became the first woman cricketer to feature in 200 One Day Internationals (ODIs) in the third match of the three-match series against New Zealand on Friday at Seddon Park in Hamilton. 

‘Record-Breaker’- the title perfectly suits Mithali Raj, the batting maestro as well as the flag bearer of women’s cricket for almost two decades in India. She is not only re-writing the history with her bat and leadership skill but has achieved another milestone in her life also. She inscribed her name in record books all over again with the 200 ODI appearances. Yes, there is probably nothing in international cricket, which she couldn’t achieve so far.

As a little kid, Mithali was too lazy and to inculcate the habit of early rising, her father Dorai Raj took her to the cricket academy. There she used to play with the boys under the late Sampath Kumar’s guidance. He was the first person who saw the spark in Mithali and said that she will have a bright career ahead. Back then, Mithali used to love dancing more than cricket.

Having started playing at the age of 10, she got her maiden call-up in the national team at the age of 16. At 16 years and 205 days, in her debut match against Ireland, she scored an unbeaten century. From that time to today, she has been having a career span of 19 years and 219 days and counting… which is the longest career among women cricketers. Only Sachin Tendulkar (463), Sanath Jayasuriya (445) and Javid Miandad (233) have had the longer International career than the India ODI captain.

Debut at the age of 16, Raj is the only woman cricketer to score more than 6,000 runs in ODIs with an average of more than 50 plus. Since her debut, she has missed only 13 ODIs and featured in 75.19 per cent of all the ODIs India have ever played from the beginning. She is one of those 5 players, who scored centuries in their debut matches.

Also read: “We definitely want to make it 3-0,” says Mithali Raj

She is the first player to score seven consecutive half-centuries in ODIs. She also holds the record for most half-centuries in ODIs (52) as well as the most 90s. Her 90s are no less important than a century, as most of those knocks came under pressure. During the Women’s T20 Asia Cup in June 2018, she became the first player from India (either male or female) to score 2000 runs in the shortest format of the game.

Mithali Raj also became the first woman cricketer to reach the feat. She is the only captain to lead India twice in ICC Women’s World Cup final, in 2005 and 2017. She has also captained India 123 times, more than any other captain in the women’s ODI. Former player Charlotte Edwards is at the second place with 117 games. She became the most capped player in the history of Women’s ODIs on Friday, 6th April 2018 during the first match between India and England in the three-match ODI series. Now, this 200th appearance in ODI has added another feather in her hat.

She holds another record in run chasing. She averages 111.29 in 48 successful chases where she was unbeaten 31 times. This average is better than MS Dhoni (103.07) and Virat Kohli (96.23). The next best average in successful run chases in women’s cricket is Australia captain Meg Lanning’s (78.34).

Since she has achieved this feat, let’s reminisces some of her wonderful innings:

114* vs Irela1999nd ():

Having made her debut at 16 years 205 days during India’s tour of Ireland and England, she became the youngest woman cricketer to make a century while opening the innings. She and another debutant Reshma Gandhi made an unbroken 258-run stand which became a national record.

After 9 long years, the record was broken by Caroline Atkins and Sarah Taylor against South Africa on August 8, 2008. Later it took another 9 years to break the record. This time it was another Indian pair – Deepti Sharma and Punam Raut. Both of them scored 320 runs against Ireland on May 15, 2017.

Raj and Gandhi’s unbeaten 258-run stand remains the third-highest first-wicket partnership in women’s cricket till date. Mithali’s game had impressed everyone on her debut match and Indian Women’s Cricket had found their most dependable batter whose passion for the game still keeps her going.

91* vs New Zealand (2005):

This unbeaten 91 was one of her favourite knocks because her knock helped India to reach their first World Cup final. India were reduced to 38/2 within 14th over when the young captain Mithali Raj came into bat.

She found great support from Anjum Chopra and India put up 204 at the end of the 50 overs. Raj was dealing with a bad knee injury and she had to overcome it because the team was needed her the most that time. During the second innings, she couldn’t take the field due to her swollen knee. However, India claimed a ravishing 40-run win in the game.

94* vs England (2012):

Another favourite knock of Mithali Raj was her unbeaten 94 against England at Lord’s in 2012. Her knock helped to break England’s winning streak. Raj made a hundred-run stand with Punam Raut (60) for the second wicket a further 89-run with Harmanpreet Kaur.

Raj led from the front and anchor the innings till the end. However, Kaur’s dismissal when 14 required from 15 balls led the team into trouble as Veda Krishnamurthy got out in the final ball of the penultimate over. Sulakshana Naik’s run out from the second delivery of the final over brought Raj on strike and she hit the winning runs.

103* vs Pakistan (2013):

If you criticise her, she will bounce back strongly. It was during The ICC Women’s World Cup in 2013 at home where India had a dismal performance in every game. Everyone started questioning her ability as a player as well as a captain. She remained silent and her bat gave the answer to the critics.

Playing against arch-rival Pakistan at the Barabati Stadium where chasing more than 100 was difficult, Raj’s unbeaten hundred while chasing 193, helped India to register a six-wicket win. That win helped India to maintain their unbeaten record against Pakistan as well.

109 vs New Zealand (Derby, 2017):

After 12 long years, India were on a verge of reaching the final of ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017 because of their all-round performances. But they had to win their virtual quarter-final against New Zealand.

Mithali Raj, as always became the saviour of the team. She scored 109 off 123 with 11 fours. She found good supports from Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy and made 132 and 108-run stand respectively. After her stellar century, it was Rajeshwari Gayakwad who took a fifer and New Zealand were bundled out for 79 and India had a blistering 186-run win.

Being the stalwarts of the team, Raj has seen many changes revolving around her but she stood strong and adopted every change gracefully. From joining the celebration in the end after falling wickets to staying calm and handling immense pressure tactfully; she has redefined the word ‘Captain Cool’. Reading ‘Essential Rumi’ before going to bat to slamming the trollers on social media, she has inspired the whole nation both on and off the field.

In the nearly 20-year long international career, she has gone from strength to strength, smashing one record after another. The mountain of runs is the testimony to Raj’s longevity and unflinching passion towards the game and her team. She has the gift of timing and footwork. Hope her legacy continues and she achieves many more milestones.

“200 is just a number for me”, says Mithali Raj on World Record

"200 is just a number for me", says Mithali Raj on World Record

The captain of India in the ODI format, Mithali Raj became the first woman cricketer to play 200 matches in the ODI format on Friday. 

The stalwart of Indian Women’s Cricket, the captain Mithali Raj has achieved a rare milestone on Friday with the 200 appearances in ODI during the final match against White Ferns of their three-match ODI series at Hamilton. After reaching the feat, she said that she did not pay any attention to her records.

Having made her ODI debut against Ireland in Milton Keynes in January 1999, she had smashed a century and became one of those 5 players, who scored centuries in their debut matches. She is also the highest run-getter in the Women’s Cricket with 6622 runs.

“200 is just a number for me but it feels nice to come so far,” the ODI captain said after India won their first series against White Ferns in New Zealand.

“I have seen different stages of [transformation] women’s cricket across the globe since I made by debut way back in 1999 under IWCC [International Women’s Cricket Council]. Coming under ICC, we could see the difference. I am just happy to represent the country for so long,” Mithali said.

Mithali Raj’s career is now on the verge of completion it’s two decades; where hardly few records left which she couldn’t achieve.

“When I started, I didn’t think that I will come so far,” said Mithali Raj. “Initially, my aim was to only wear the India colours, be one of the core members of the team but never did I think that I will continue to play for so long,” Mithali added.

During this nearly 20-years long International career, Mithali has faced many ups and downs; which included the recent public spat between Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji and former coach Ramesh Powar regarding her exclusion from the team during the semi-final against Australia in the ICC World T20 last year.

Also Read: A cricketing record

She has always tried to adopt the changes gracefully and stood strong whenever the team is needed her.

“When you have a long career, you have different elements and reasoning that comes into factor. But one thing has been to constantly thrive and change my game to suit different conditions, different areas of my game and trying to keep up with the international standards,” Mithali told.

“I’ve seen joys, I’ve seen highs and lows. When you have a long career it is part of it and I’m grateful to all the coaches who have worked on my game, to my parents, to my mentors and of course to BCCI and to WCI also because I made my debut under that association. I’m just glad that people who have made a difference in my career, I’m very grateful to them,” she further expressed her gratitude for those who made an impact in her career.

India won the first two matches convincingly wherein the third, White Ferns registered a comfortable win by 8 wickets. While talking about the improvements of the team and further requirements, she urged some more support from the fast bowlers.

“I think the middle order definitely needs more outing in terms of batting. And also when the spinners are getting hit, we need little more support from the fast bowlers. Of course, Jhulan [Goswami] is experienced but we need to have… maybe having an all-rounder in the squad, in the eleven can be useful on these tracks when you know that on a given day that the spinners are not doing, the all-rounder can step in. It’s again a choice but we definitely need to work on these areas,” said Mithali.

Having said that, Raj also expressed that she was impressed with the spinners as well. They had performed really well throughout the series and made a great impact. The spin troika – Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht and Deepti Sharma scalped 15 wickets in the series combinedly.

“I think the first game the spinners have dominated and the opening pair has given us a great start, chasing 170 odd runs and without losing the openers initially has definitely given us confidence. Getting into the second game also the spinners have continued to carry that momentum from the first game, Though we had a collapse, the partnership between me and Smriti has helped us. I think overall the Indian team has always banked on the spinners and they’ve done well on this surface as well,” Mithali further added.

Smriti Mandhana becomes India’s trump card in overseas

I had to tell myself to not hit any rash shot, says Smriti Mandhana

India’s left-hand opener Smriti Mandhana has been in a blistering form from the last year. 

Smriti Mandhana has been performing well from their first series of ICC Women’s Championship (2017-21) against South Africa, last year in February. 

Last year started with her career-best 135 against South Africa. From there to scoring match-winning knocks back to back in the two matches against White Ferns certainly proves her worth in the team. She is an integral part of the squad and enjoys batting away from home.

Recently India clinched the series against White ferns; where she scored 195 runs in two matches. 105 in the first one and an unbeaten 90 in the second match. She has the best batting average in away ODIs, surpassing former player Karen Rolton, Australia captain Meg Lanning and her teammate as well as her captain in ODI format Mithali Raj.

Best batting averages in away ODIs (min. 500 runs)
Player Innings Runs Batting Average
Smriti Mandhana (IND) 14 905


Karen Rolton (AUS) 62 2509 53.38
Meg Lanning (AUS) 25 1173 53.31
Laura Wolvaardt (SA) 13 602 50.16
Mithali Raj (IND) 72 2574 45.96

So far, Mandhana has played only 14 One Day Internationals outside India and most of the time she scored big knocks for India. She has scored minimum 50 runs in her last 10 ODI innings. She even scored more sixes (14) and fours (102) than anyone else from the last year. Her last 10 ODI scores as follows: 67, 52, 86, 42, 53*, 73*, 14, 51, 105, 90*. Her swashbuckling form earned her 2018’s ICC Cricketer of the year.

The left-handed opener is the only Indian woman player to smash four centuries in successive calendar years. She is also the second player to score most centurions amongst Indians. Mandhana has four centuries to her name and placed second only after India ODI captain Mithali Raj who has seven centuries to her name. India T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur is the third on the list with three centuries.

Mandhana also has the record of taking the most number of innings’ to get her first duck (31) amongst Indian cricketers. She was awarded the ‘Player of The Match’ for the second time for her stormy 90*. From the coaches, commentators to players, everyone felt that the pitch was a bit slow. India Captain Mithali Raj too thought that the pitch was a difficult pitch to score quick runs and it required patience to get runs. But Mandhana scored smoothly on that pitch as well.

Since August 1, 2017, India opener leads the list of highest run-scorer in ODIs, smashing 864 runs at an average of 78.54. New Zealand’s experienced all-rounder Sophie Devine placed second on the list with 735 runs at an average of 73.50. The third place belongs to Lizelle Lee of South Africa,

After receiving the player of the match award, Mandhana praised the bowlers and said that she felt bowlers deserved the credit for restricting the White Ferns to a below-par score.

It feels great but I think our bowlers deserved the player of the match award more than me. I will give it away to our bowlers, they did a great job to restrict New Zealand on a good wicket.”

“162 was a very easy total to chase. I will be giving this award to all the bowlers in the team. They deserve it for restricting New Zealand to 161 on such a good wicket,” Mandhana further said.

She further said that she felt the wicket was like an Indian wicket on the second game and credited the BCCI for the 10-day camp in Napier prior to the series.

“I thought today was an Indian wicket more than the New Zealand conditions. We had a camp before the first one-day for 10 days. BCCI has done really good to give us 10 days camp at Napier and we could get acclimatised to the conditions,” Mandhana said.

India will face White Ferns in their last ODI match on Friday at Seddon Park, Hamilton.

“We definitely want to make it 3-0,” says Mithali Raj

Mithali Raj

Mithali Raj and Co. have taken an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match ODI series over New Zealand. They have won the second ODI by eight-wicket at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui. 

India chose to field first after winning the toss. Once again White Ferns had a disastrous start. The victory was first set up by the bowlers. Pace spearhead Jhulan Goswami picked up 3 wickets for 23 which followed by the brilliant spells from the spin troika – Ekta Bisht, Deepti Sharma, and Poonam Yadav; each of them scalped 2 wickets. White Ferns got the big blow in the very first over when Suzie Bates went for a 4-ball duck; who got a slight edge while keeper Taniya Bhatia took an easy catch. They got another blow when in-form opener Sophie Devine soon followed Bates in the dugout. Captain Mithali Raj did the trick by introducing Ekta Bisht in the 10th over. She picked up Lauren Down; who gave an easy catch to Mandhana at the point.

Bisht struck again and took Amelia Kerr for 1 and soon White Ferns reduced to 38/4 after 14 overs. Maddy Green was next to follow, after scoring mere 9 and they became 62/5. Captain Amy Satterthwaite anchor the innings single-handedly, scored 87-ball 71 and added 58 runs along with Leigh Kasperek for the sixth wicket.

Satterthwaite fell for 71 to Poonam Yadav in the 34th over when she missed reading the delivery. After her dismissal, rest of the batters were not able to build a partnership as Deepti Sharma chipped in two wickets in the 42nd over and Goswami’s fine spell restricted them within 161 on board.

India too have a shaky start as in-form opener Jemimah Rodrigues went for an 8-ball duck, giving an easy catch straight to Amelia Kerr at mid-wicket. Deepti Sharma, who came into bat at no. 3, too dismissed after very cheaply, scoring 8 off 11 and they soon reduced to 15/2 within 5 overs.

Sharma’s dismissal brought captain Mithali Raj on the crease. Mithali Raj added 151 runs along with Mandhana for the third wicket. Smriti Mandhana picked up the innings from where she left in the first match. While she was dealing with the boundaries, the captain took some time to settle and hold from the other end.

Mandhana smashed a quick-fire half-century off 54 balls. This was her 8th 50-plus score in the last 10 ODIs. Raj hit the first six of the inning over deep mid-wicket which brought the 100-run mark for the team. She finished the game in style by hitting a long-on six off Amelia Kerr. Mandhana scored 90* off 83 while Raj remained unbeaten at 63 and guided India to another comfortable victory.

In the post-match conference, Mithali Raj praised her bowlers and said that they’re looking for a clean sweep against New Zealand. India have already won the three-match ODI series by 2-0.

“We definitely want to make it 3-0. At the same time, we will try and give some of the youngsters an opportunity,” said Mithali.

“Initially, a lot of people asked me if the spinners can turn the match around on these wickets. The spinners have been doing well from word go and Smriti (Mandhana) has been amongst runs and so has been Jemimah (Rodrigues).”

India’s run-chase in both the matches were done by the opener Smriti Mandhana. Vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur didn’t get the chance to bat yet.

“Batting has not been tested. In a way it is a good thing because whoever is getting the opportunity is making the most of it,” Mithali said.

“As and when the batters get the opportunity, we play according to the situation. Yes, any batter would like to get in there and score runs,” she added.

“It gives a lot of confidence getting into the next game but both the games were on the low scoring side and whoever has got opportunity has got runs.”

While talking about her role in the team, she said she is happy to give support to the team whenever needed.

“As long as I am getting runs, I would be more than happy to play the supporting role or whatever the team’s demands are,” Mithali expressed.

England’s Danielle Hazell retires from International Cricket

England's Danielle Hazell retires from International Cricket

England’s off-spinner Danielle Hazell has retired from the International Cricket after a nine-year-long career.

30-year old Hazell made her ODI and T20I debut in 2009 and Test debut in 2011. She has played in three Tests, 53 ODIs and 85 T20Is; where she scalped 2 wickets, 59 wickets, and 85 wickets respectively, including the career-best 4 for 32 against India in Nagpur in April last year.

She has two World Cups and three Ashes under her belt. She played an important role in England’s victory in 2017 in the ICC Women’s World Cup in England. Hazelle was last featured in the ICC World T20 final against Australia on November 24, 2018, in the West Indies where she bagged only 1 wicket in three overs. Moreover, she had led her side on two occasions, in 2016 and 2018, and in 2014, she became of the first 14 women cricketers to be awarded the ECB central contract.

“There have been some amazing highlights – some really special moments. I owe a lot to the game,” said Hazell. “I feel 100 percent happy with my decision to move on from playing international cricket and I’m really excited to find out what the next chapter holds in store for me. I owe a lot to the game and I would now love to give some of my time and energy back into the sport.”

While talking about her retirement, Hazell expressed that it took lots of effort and she will miss her teammates.

“Playing international cricket for nine years can have an effect on you both mentally and physically and my body is telling me that it’s time to move on,” she said. “I’ll miss the girls, I’ll miss pulling on the England shirt and I’ll miss being in the arena but the timing is right for me.”

Mark Robinson, the Head Coach of England, said, “Dani can justifiably be really proud of her international career. She has been one of the best offspinners in the world but it won’t only be her cricketing ability that we’ll miss.”

“We’ll miss her leadership qualities and her character. She has mentored the likes of Sophie Ecclestone on and off the pitch, been a good ally for Heather [Knight] and been a more than capable deputy when needed,” Robinson further added.

Clare Connor, the Managing Director of Women’s Cricket expressed, “On behalf of ECB and England women’s cricket, I’d like to thank Dani for her years of commitment and service to the England women’s team, and wish her all the best with whatever comes next.”

Mithali Raj wants to bring the focus back on cricket in the NZ series

Mithali Raj: The Epitome Of Class and Consistency

After having a disappointing World T20 for New Zealand and a controversial one for India last year, both the team will lock horns for a three-match ODI and the same number of T20I series from January 24 in New Zealand; where India captain Mithali Raj urged the focus to be back on cricket from all the controversies. 

India will play their first international series after the controversy regarding Mithali Raj’s exclusion from the team in the semi-final against Australia where India lost by eight wickets. Later India T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur and vice-captain Smriti Mandhana wrote BCCI in favour of then-coach Ramesh Powar and backed the decision of Mithali Raj’s exclusion; which created a rift between Harmanpreet Kaur and Mithali Raj.

Though both the captains, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur have commented that they have moved on and sorted out the issues between them. However, Mithali said that she wanted the focus back on the cricket from the controversy.

“What has happened has happened and we should move on. Cricket has taught me to move on. No matter whether you get a 100 or a zero you have to be prepared for the next game or you tune yourself for the next day. This is what as international cricketers we look forward to and I am definitely looking forward to the series because it’s very important to get the focus back on the sport and on the team performance and this is an opportunity for us.”

“As professional cricketers, everybody understands what it takes to play at the international level. You are here representing our country in one-dayers and you would want to do your best and you would want the team to get together play as a unit because that is what it will give you result,” explained Raj.

The three ODIs will be a part of the ICC Women’s Championship (2017-20) and will play a crucial role in terms of direct selection in the next World Cup. After having played 9 ICC Women’s Championship (2017-20) matches, New Zealand is currently in the second place with 12 points while India is in 5th position with 8 points.

If New Zealand will win the series, they will surpass Australia, placing at the top whereas if India wins, they will be placed at the second position in the Point Table. But to win the series, India need to be acclimatised to the weather and the conditions there.

“The ground dimension, we don’t think that much about it. But yes, wind will be a factor while batting, bowling or fielding. We are training accordingly so that when we get on to the field that will not be the top-most thing on to our mind, but how we negotiate it to get the best out of ourselves. We look forward to implementing it,” said Mithali Raj.

Though India reached the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup in England in 2017 and played the ICC World T20 in West Indies last year, they didn’t have a great series in New Zealand before. Only Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami have the experience of playing in New Zealand before.

“Our campaigns, be it at the World Cup or T20 World Cup, it has been an away tour. We have played in England conditions, in the West Indies, now touring New Zealand. Girls have come prepared; Most of them may be inexperienced for New Zealand conditions but otherwise the team is an experienced lot who are playing together for past 4-5 years. So I don’t think we are a troubled tourist. But yes, I look forward to acclimatising to the conditions at the earliest so that it doesn’t pose too much of a threat when we take the field,” added Mithali.

The experienced batter also expressed that the team was not that much dependent on her as they have now a strong batting line-up.

“Right now all of us are in good form. Smriti (Mandhana) or Harmanpreet Kaur or the young Jemimah (Rodrigues), all have been among the runs. We have got a very good middle order in Hemalatha (Dayalan) and Dipti Sharma, who is also an all-rounder,” further expressed Mithali. “All of us are coming from match practice, whether it is a domestic season or a couple of girls from the WBBL. We came a week early to get adapted to the conditions. We had a practice game. Girls are in great shape because we had a few outdoor nets and we are looking forward to the series.”

“So, overall, all of them at some point of the other have played match-winning innings for the team. The team doesn’t depend completely on me, but yes, as an experienced batter, I do have the responsibility to get the batting unit together to perform,” she told.

The most-capped player further claimed that along with batting, India have a strong bowling side which can pose a great threat to New Zealand.

“Spinners have always been our strength and they have bowled on different conditions and tracks and they do know how to bowl in the areas if the ball doesn’t turn. It will be a challenge but I guess that’s where the experience counts we need to battle and negotiate different tracks and that’s what the bowlers will do,” she commented.

However, New Zealand skipper Amy Satterthwaite acknowledged that India were a tough opponent but she was happy that they’re going to play the series at home soil and they will get the benefit of it.

“From our point of view, we are in a positive space and a lot of girls are playing some really good cricket and it is always a good feeling when you are coming off the back of your own summer and you are playing a lot of games. The team is feeling excited to get started and looking forward to the challenge,” added Satterthwaite.

“I think playing a series is always a good feeling. You get to play more games with the same team and you adjust as you go alone. India is a quality side and the way they have gone from strength to strength in the last couple of years. They have got some talented youngsters to complement some very seasoned cricketers, who have been playing for a long time.”