India opener Smriti Mandhana admitted that she had some nervous moments when her score was in the 90s and had prayed to a few Gods for the fielder to drop her catch.
Just like in her century against the West Indies in the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, Smriti had to encounter some nervy moments before crossing the three-figure mark, including a dropped catch at 94, followed by a bouncer and lbw appeal.
Eventually, she made 123 to be one of the main architects in India’s 155-run win at Seddon Park over West Indies on Saturday.
“I had a little bit of the nervous nineties today and I was a little nervous about that ball going up in the air and I prayed to two, three gods saying please let the player drop it. And she (Aaliyah Alleyne) put it down so I should thank her actually because otherwise I would have got out on 96,” said Smriti in the post-match virtual press conference.
Smriti further explained how the innings of 123 off 119 balls was different from her usual big knocks.
“It wasn’t like a typical one which I just go into flow and I started playing my shots. So really pleased that I could put some brakes on my scoring rate and play according to the situation and then contribute and mainly I think contribute to India, for India’s win. That’s something which I really look forward to every day when I come out to bat. So I’m happy that I could do that today.”
“It’s been a long way. I’ve been getting out on the 70s and 80s quite a lot. So something which was consciously I was thinking that if I feel like playing the shot, I don’t have to stop myself. I’ll just go with the flow and I’ll just play according to the ball. That’s how I started my innings. So that’s something which I was really working on. Hopefully, I will be this kind always on me and I will convert the 60s and 70s into a big score because I think if we do that — India’s will be in a great position.”
Smriti then heaped praise on Harmanpreet Kaur for scoring 109 off 107 balls and even got her to share the Player of the Match award in the post-match presentation ceremony.
“I think she’s a very crucial part of our batting order, especially in the middle order. I’m really happy that she’s come back to form and I think from the practice game, she’s been batting well, so we’re really confident that she’ll be able to score runs in this tournament and I’m happy that she’s got back-to-back 50’s.”
“Most importantly, I think today’s century will give her a lot of confidence and I think the whole team as well because we were not in a great place I think to start with and from there for her to come in and bat and get us out of that situation. I think it was an incredible innings.”
Smriti signed off by explaining the comfort level in her partnerships with Harmanpreet, who became the first player from India to score three centuries in Women’s Cricket World Cups.
“It’s always fun to bat with Harry (Harmanpreet). We have batted a lot in T20s, I think in last six or seven years I’ve been part of, I’ve had a lot of partnerships with her and we always complement each other really well.”
“So, it’s really fun to bat with her and I think we share a really good bond on and off the field and I think we all have a really good bond as a batting unit, so we all share a good bond when we bat, it just depends on the situation — like once we get set — I think like the jokes keep going after once we are set — so that’s what happened today also that when we got to set, we started joking around a bit more. And we started smiling a bit more.”
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