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Smriti Mandhana’s stunning unbeaten fifty against England in the second T20I helped India level the series 1-1.
Chasing 143 for the win, Smriti Mandhana made a mockery of the chase with a brilliant 79* off 53 balls that helped India force the T20I series into a decider.
A glorious stroke through backward point in the first over was the precursor to the rest of her innings. Mandhana was destructive in the Powerplay, scoring seven boundaries in total, including three in a single over against Freya Kemp.
On either side of the Powerplay, India lose Shafali Verma and Dayalan Hemalatha, forcing Mandhana to drop anchor for a while. The innings showcased that the southpaw is as adept in playing her strokes as she is in rotating the strike and being solid at one end.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur took up the role of the aggressor for a brief period as Mandhana at the other end brought up her fifty in just 36 balls. With the win in sight, Mandhana let loose in the final stretch of her innings. She smashed Sophie Ecclestone for two boundaries in the 15th over before finishing things off in style with three fours off Freya Davies.
Mandhana’s stunning innings consisting of a total of 13 boundaries gave us a glimpse as to why she was one on the latest list of ICC 100% Cricket Superstars unveiled in August. She made the list along with Pakistan’s Fatima Sana, Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner, Sophia Dunkley of England, and Ireland’s Gaby Lewis.
Close to completing a decade in cricket, Mandhana has not only become India’s batting mainstay but has also grown to become a leader as well. The ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year 2021 has unsurprisingly shown her exploits in the white-ball format but has also taken to Test cricket like a duck to water. In just four Tests, she has two fifties and a century to her name. In the shorter formats, she has more than 2000 runs in each of them, including 40 fifties and five centuries.
Still only 26 years of age, Mandhana’s prime years are ahead of her and if her innings yesterday is anything to go by, has loads of runs and memorable knocks in her kitty.
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