Trailblazers’ defeated two-time champions Supernovas by 16 runs to win their first Women’s T20 Challenge trophy on Monday. Skipper Smriti Mandhana claimed that it was the uncertainty of when they would they get to play next inspired them to “give their all” in the final against Supernovas.
Mandhana‘s (68 off 49) Trailblazers made a decent 118/8 while Supernovas could only manage to score 102/7. “I just told the girls that these are the last 20 overs of the tournament. Because of the COVID-19 situation we don’t know when we’ll come out next, so we wanted to give it our all,” Player of the match and winning captain Mandhana said after the satisfactory match.
Harmanpreet Kaur side’s lacked partnership
“It wasn’t that tough a total to chase but we just didn’t get partnerships. We needed two good partnerships, but we didn’t,” said Supernova skipper, Harmanpreet Kaur.
Kaur, however, was also struggling with her fitness during the match. “The injury isn’t that bad. We couldn’t do it this time but it is part of the game and we’ll take it as a learning,” she said post-match.
Kaur further mentioned, “Sitting at home was really difficult, but we have to respect the things that are going on and be safe. Yes definitely, women’s cricket is back.”
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Smriti Mandhana utilised the lockdown well
On the other hand, talking bout life during coronavirus Mandhana said, “The first one two months of the lockdown was good to spend time with the family. The players in the last three-four months got time to go out and start hitting some balls.”
“It was a good time for all of us to go back and work on ourselves which we don’t get usually.”
A successful year
Last year, Mandhana became the second-fastest Indian after Shikhar Dhawan, and the third-fastest woman after Belinda Clark and Meg Lanning to score 2,000 runs in one-day internationals. Batting at a great pace, the star batswoman returned to the ODI team after recovering from a toe injury and hit a fantastic fifty against West Indies in Antigua to collect 2,000 runs in ODI cricket. She also rose to the fourth position in the latest ICC women’s T20 International rankings for batters.
Mandhana is only the second Indian woman to win an International Cricket Council award, fast bowler Jhulan Goswami is the first one, who was named women’s player of the year in 2007.
Mandhana continues to perform brilliantly on the field as the opener and number one ODI batswoman. In April last year, she was awarded ‘Women’s Leading Cricketer of the Year’ in the 2018 edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. She was also awarded the Arjuna Award, recently. Mandhana also made it to the ‘Forbes India 30 Under 30’ list last year and was the only cricketer on that list.
Feature Image Credit: BCCI/IPL