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Mandhana’s Incredible Transformation as India’s Best All-format Player

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: February 17, 2019, 2:05 PM IST
Mandhana’s Incredible Transformation as India’s Best All-format Player

Smriti Mandhana. (Getty Images)

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Smriti Mandhana is probably the most celebrated women’s cricketer currently in the country. An elegant southpaw, with some delightful strokes up her sleeve, Mandhana has become the lynchpin of India’s batting in the last couple of years. While she was always a force to reckon with in One-Day Internationals, the 20-over format was never her forte till a few months back, but that is slowly changing.

She ended the recently concluded Twenty20 International series against New Zealand as the highest run-scorer from either side, tallying 180 runs in three matches at an average of 60.00 and a strike rate of 146.34. Her average and strike rate were the best across both teams and the way Mandhana tackled the new ball early on in tough conditions was a treat to watch.

Since the beginning of 2018, Mandhana is the highest run-scorer in the 20-over format in women’s cricket, racking up 802 runs at an average of 32.08 with as many as seven scores over fifty.

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The likes of Suzie Bates, Harmanpreet Kaur and Sophie Devine come behind her. This is a massive turnaround for Mandhana who hasn’t always been regarded highly in the shortest format of the game.

Up till 2018, Mandhana had just one score over 50 with an average of just 17.66. But since then she has completely transformed herself into a player who has the ability to score runs at a quick pace as well. Her tremendous turnaround has been complemented by runs in One-Day Internationals too. In 15 matches in the fifty-over format since 2018, she has racked up 865 runs at an impressive average of 72.08 with two hundreds and eight half-centuries. Prior to 2018 in ODIs, she had averaged 30.09.

Mandhana graph

Mandhana was the backbone of India’s journey during the 2017 World Cup where they made the finals and the confidence behind those performances apparently rubbed off on her overall performances across formats. She has shown amazing composure and tenacity at the crease while remaining her flamboyant self.

Maturity in her batting has translated into runs in difficult conditions. Against a potent New Zealand attack in their backyard, Mandhana was fearless, yet remarkably vigilant. Runs flowed as a result. In the three-match T20I series she had scores of 58, 36 and 86 and looked increasingly self confident during her time in the middle.

Her last few scores in T20Is give a gist of how good a form she has been in. She was perhaps aided by the Women’s Big Bash League experience with Brisbane Heat for whom she turned up 23 times, scoring 407 runs at a strike rate of 129.62.

The next step for Mandhana in the shortest format of the game is perhaps a hundred. She has eight scores of fifty or more in her career but has never crossed the elusive three-figure mark in T20Is. The strike rate, which hovered around the 100 mark till a few years back has risen to 118.11 (overall career). The number of fifty plus scores have also risen but that three-figure mark is still missing. However, given her talent and audacious stroke-play, it shouldn’t take the left-hander long to achieve that feat as well.
First Published: February 12, 2019, 1:50 PM IST
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