2nd T20I: Smriti Mandhana powers India to series-levelling win over England

Smriti is considering pulling out of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) to manage her workload, allowing her to be in top shape for national duty.

Smriti Mandhana
Smriti Mandhana plays a shot en route to her 79 not out against England in the 2nd ODI in Derby on Tuesday (September 13). Photo: Twitter/BCCI Women

Opening batter Smriti Mandhana scored a superb 79 not out to help the Indian women’s cricket team to a series-levelling eight-wicket victory over England women in the second Twenty20 International in Derby on Tuesday (September 13).

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, England scored 142/6 in 20 overs. In reply, India reached the target in 16.4 overs.

Sneh Rana took three wickets while Deepti Sharma and Renuka Singh had one scalp apiece. No. 7 batter Freya Kemp was the top scorer for the host with 51. Maia Bouchier made 34.

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Smriti and Shafali Verma added 55 runs for the first wicket in 6 overs. After Shafali’s exit from the middle for 20 runs, Smriti continued the good work, scoring 79 not out off 53 balls with 13 fours.

In the company of skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (29 not out), Smriti guided the team home to level the three-match series 1-1.

The third and final T20I is in Bristol tomorrow (September 15). Three ODIs from September 18 will follow the T20Is.

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“We were keen to come back stronger and level the series. I was pushing myself and happy that I could contribute to the victory. Good weather to bat (in England), before the Commonwealth Games, I think I found the touch back in T20 cricket, you would look to try and get a good start to the team,” Smriti said after the match.

“I am happy to contribute to the team. It depends on the day and the bowlers, two years back, she (on Shafali Verma) perhaps was just trying to dominate, but she now knows whom to target and to respect good bowling. The good thing is we can both take advantage of the batting powerplay, whoever is in good touch takes the lead in doing so,” she added.

Meanwhile, Smriti is considering pulling out of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) to manage her workload, allowing her to be in top shape for national duty.

She has been on the road since February when India played a bilateral series against New Zealand ahead of the ODI World Cup. After the Commonwealth Games last month, the southpaw stayed back in the UK for The Hundred and is now part of the ongoing bilateral series with England.

“I think more than the mental part, it’s about managing a little bit of physical part,” Smriti had said in a virtual media interaction ahead of the second T20I.

“Definitely, I’ll be thinking about pulling out of WBBL because I don’t want to miss out on playing for India or having any niggles when I play for India because I want to give my 100% when I play international cricket. So definitely, I’ll be thinking about playing or pulling out of Big Bash,” she added.