New Delhi: England’s Heather Knight fell just short of a Twenty20 hundred, and India’s Smriti Mandhana missed out on a tournament record fifty. But the duo, on opposite sides exactly a year ago, joined forces to give fans in Taunton something special.
Knight struck 97 off 62 balls to help Western Storm open their title defence with an eight-wicket win over Yorkshire Diamonds. She struck 13 fours and five sixes in her knock, before she holed out trying to strike a boundary with two runs required for the win. She had combined with Mandhana for an 80-run stand for the second wicket, with the Indian opener racing away to 48 off 20 balls, which included five sixes.
However, it wasn’t all about batting as Mandhana even taught Knight some Hindi during their partnership. The Storm skipper took to Twitter to share the same: “A lot of fun batting with @mandhana_smriti yesterday. She taught me how to call in Hindi mid partnership!! ♀️”
A lot of fun batting with @mandhana_smriti yesterday. She taught me how to call in Hindi mid partnership!! ♀️ https://t.co/jdJtNZGCRd— Heather Knight (@Heatherknight55) July 23, 2018
A lot of fun batting with @mandhana_smriti yesterday. She taught me how to call in Hindi mid partnership!! ♀️ https://t.co/jdJtNZGCRd
Their chase of Yorkshire Diamonds’ 162/5 was completed with 27 balls to spare. On a “belter of a wicket”, a record number of sixes were struck in the match, beating the previous record of 10 from 2016.
“Smriti Mandhana plays without any nerves and we saw a little bit of what she can do,” said Knight after the match. “She was hitting the ball so cleanly, all I had to do was play a supporting role. I went for my shots a bit more after she got out and I was timing the ball really well out there. I saw that the hundred was on and they don’t come along that often in T20. In the end I fell just short and I guess I’ll get a bit of stick for turning down a single at the end."