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Women’s T20 Challenge: “I Was Really Positive From The First Ball” – Smriti Mandhana On Trailblazers’ Win

Trailblazers successfully broke the dominance of Supernovas in the Women’s T20 Challenge and won the title in Dubai on Monday (November 9). After the convincing victory, Trailblazers‘ captain Smriti Mandhana revealed that she knew her team’s spin attack as they were able to defend the below-par total in the final. And, her team didn’t disappoint her as they won by 16 runs against Supernovas as well.

It is also noteworthy that, barring Smriti Mandhana, no other batter could set the stage on fire. Put in to bat first, Trailblazers got off to a flying start, courtesy Mandhana. She smashed a quickfire 68. However, they didn’t lose a single wicket until the 11th over but the slow nature of the surface didn’t help them in the middle overs the way they started their innings. And, eventually, they could manage only 118 for 8 on the board in their allotted 20 overs as Supernovas’ Radha Yadav put up a great show with the ball, claiming a fifer and becoming the first player to do so.

“It was an amazing performance. We tried to get to 130-140 but somewhere we lost track. The wicket was tough to bat so I knew any total around 120 would be a fighting total. We have good spin attack and I was really positive from the first ball,” said a happy Smriti Mandhana at the post-match press conference.

This was the first time they were playing after a long gap of nearly 8 months as the global pandemic novel COVID-19 put the entire world into a standstill. However, in the final, Mandhana was in a good rhythm and finding the gaps quite easily too.

“I was timing the ball well (even) in the last match but unfortunately I was finding the fielders but today it was a conscious effort to hit the ball in the gaps. That was the only thing I was thinking. Playing cricket after a long seven-month gap obviously made the players happy,” she added.

However, she also praised Radha, who dismantled Trailblazers’ batting and successfully restricted within a below-par total.

“I did not face Radha much, I just faced her in the powerplay, she has been in good form. When a bowler is in form, you try to take a single and get off the strike. We just told everyone to respect the bowler who is in form on the day. Even last year we had a great time playing Women’s T20 Challenge,” she further shared.

“She was brilliant. Those spells win you matches”: Smriti Mandhana on Salma Khatun

Smriti had the service of some quality spinners in her team, including Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, the Bangladesh off-spinner Salma Khatun, the No.1 bowler in the ICC Ranking, Sophie Ecclestone and a few. In their first game of the Women’s T20 Challenge, the spin attack of Trailblazers successfully restricted Velocity within 50 runs on the board. In the final, Khatun picked up three wickets in the penultimate over, including the prized wicket of Supernovas’ captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana applauded her effort.

“She was brilliant. Those spells win you matches. She is an experienced campaigner. I just told her to believe in herself and she delivered. Her spell was the winning spell,” she said.

“I have not seen a girl field like that”: Smriti Mandhana on Natthakan Chantham

Meanwhile, the tournament witnessed one of the international players from Thailand too – Natthakan Chantham. She is a great prospect for her country in the game and once again showed her class. Although she didn’t get the chance in batting much, her athletism while saving a boundary or sharpness while taking a catch at the cover was pretty impressive. And, the captain couldn’t stop herself praising this talent.

“There were 2-3 brilliant fielding efforts, especially Chantham. I have not seen a girl field like that,” said Smriti Mandhana.

However, the happy captain thanked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for organising the Women’s T20 Challenge amid this crunch time of COVID-19.

“We were looking to play and meet everyone. We did not meet for 7 months, that is very rare. Last six months were tough for the whole world. It was worth it to come and play. I thank BCCI for organising this. Hopefully, we (will) keep playing, it keeps us happy,” concluded Smriti Mandhana.



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