Indian women’s team suffered a heart-wrenching two-run defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the third Twenty20 International at Seddon Park, Hamilton on Sunday (February 10).
Chasing 162 to win, the Women in Blue were right on course before opener Smriti Mandhana perished for 62-ball 86 in the 16th over. Needing a boundary in the final delivery, Mithali Raj managed to hit only two runs as the White Ferns inflicted a 3-0 whitewash in the T20I series.
Addressing the media after the match, Mandhana highlighted India’s batting woes, saying: “Well I think the girls fought really well. If you look back at the series and see, 70 or 80 per cent of the times we were in winning positions. That’s a good take away but there are a lot of things which we can improve.”
“We need to address those (batting) issues as soon as possible. We need someone who can bat through 20 overs and someone who can go in at the middle overs and get runs later on,” she added.
Mandhana returned as the leading run-scorer in the T20 series, amassing 180 runs from three games at an average of 60, including two half-centuries. Although she didn’t get enough support from the other end, the stylish southpaw rued her inability to get India home in the third match.
“I really wanted to finish the game for India. I have never been that animated ever. I badly wanted to do it today and help the team get over the line but unfortunately, I couldn’t,” the southpaw said.
Reflecting on the positives from the New Zealand tour, Mandhana said: “We have done a lot of good things. We really played well in the first two matches of the ODI series. But we became a little complacent after that and we will try to go with the same intensity in all the future matches.”
Smriti was also elated to see the away crowd turned up to support the women’s team in New Zealand.
“Definitely, because the girls don’t have the experience of playing in front of such good crowds. We generally get this sort of crowd in World Cup. If we can pull crowds in such series that will really be good, everyone will be prepared to play under pressure,” she said.
(With PTI inputs)