The first ODI between India's women's team and their English counterparts was going along like a normal cricket match before it, as the left-hand opener Smriti Mandana accepted, made the whole Indian team nervous and the memories of that dreaded day of the World Cup final reappeared.
The Indian women's team missed out on making the history in the world cup final by just 9 runs and it was the late order collapse that didn't help the cause in a game that they were expected to win chasing the modest target. It is the collapse, chasing the target yesterday as well, that made everyone in the dressing room remember that day as Smriti Mandhana said, "Everyone was nervous today. Generally, Mithali di is very calm, but today even she was a bit nervous, we were all remembering the World Cup final. The way Poonam and Ekta di finished it was brilliant."
The captain Mithali Raj as well echoed the sentiment, "Yeah, it did, Because at one point we needed 35 (sic) runs and that's when Smriti got out. But we still had five wickets in hand. I think what the tail did not manage at the World Cup final they managed to do today."
The game was hanging by the thread, as India collapsed chasing the target losing six wickets for 24 runs before Poonam Bisht and Ekta Bisht resurrected the situation and finally took the team home. Mithali reiterated, "Quite proud of Poonam and Ekta Bisht, who held their nerves at crucial times and got us through. It was an eye-opener for all of us to know that though we have a top order in place we require a lower middle-order and the tail to contribute in such games where we get a start but somewhere in the middle overs if we lose back-to-back wickets it is important that the bowlers score runs,"
Earlier too, it was Poonam Yadav's 4 for 30 and Ekta Bisht's figures of 3 for 49 which set the game up for the Indian team.
Indian team's chase got off to a good start thanks to Smriti Mandhana's slow but solid and eventually match winning 86 at the top of the order.
Talking about her effort she said, "It was a very different inning for me. I have never played this slow ever in my life, but I had to play according to the condition.We were chasing 207, so I thought it was really important for me to bat throughout. Being a left-hander it would be hard for the other bowlers to bowl on a length".
"I have been timing the ball really well in the nets and that is what I have been applying for the match also. My coach always says that whenever you are in good form you have to make it count because when the runs are not coming that time the scores should speak."
(With inputs from Cricbuzz)