Star India batter Smriti Mandhana on Friday said the team is seeking to draw motivation from the performance on the 2021 tour of Australia when the two teams clash in a crucial Women’s ODI World Cup match in Auckland on Saturday.
In the series played last year, India lost 1-2 but ended Australia’s 26-match winning streak. India had also famously derailed Australia’s chances in the 2017 World Cup by beating them in the semifinals.
“Everyone knows what happened in 2017. More than that, we discussed our last tour of Australia. We have done well against them and we almost won the series. That’s the brand of cricket we want to play and that has been our motivation,” she said at a virtual media interaction ahead of Saturday’s fixture.
The left-handed batter further said, “the girls are really motivated and everyone is pumped to go and get 2 points on board, knowing the situation of the tournament and how important this match is. The team psychologist has also helped in this regard.”
On the fitness of key batter Harmanpreet Kaur, Mandhana said “she is fit and available for tomorrow’s game.”
Dwelling further on the 2021 tour of Australia, the India opener said “Definitely we couldn’t win the series. The second match also we almost won against them, so it would have been like a series win.”
About veteran bowler Jhulan Goswami’s 200th ODI match, Mandhana said: “It is a proud moment for all of us to be there for Jhulan di’s 200th match. She has been motivating us and also all the girls back home.”
She said Rachel Haynes was a key member of the Australian line-up and “she has been anchoring the innings for them. “That’s why we’ll be looking to get her out early. She is a very experienced player and it will be an interesting battle.”
Australia’s coach Matthew Mott seemed to echo Mandhana’s views and said he was confident those memories (of the 2017 defeat) wouldn’t resurface
“It’s a non-event internally,” he said at a virtual media interaction.
“Literally, the last thing on our mind at the moment is what happened five years ago.
“India’s our only focus at the moment, we’ve done a lot of research on them. And we match up well against them. They’re a good cricket side, but it’s going to be a hell of a game tomorrow night,” Mott added.
Noting that it is a good time to play India,” Mott said “I see them as an incredibly dangerous side. We are rolling with some confidence at the moment but as we always say, it’s this game in isolation and everything that we’re talking about at the moment is about how we can combat India.
“They’ve got one of the best new-ball bowling attacks in the world and we found that out last summer. So once again, we talked about negating that and that trying to build a base is very important,” he added.
Mott also said India had some dangerous players down the order and that could hurt them and added that the team had to be at its very best.
“From a bowling perspective, they just keep coming with genuine match-winners, so even if we get off to a good start, we’ve got to respect that they’ve got some dangerous players down the order that can hurt us as well. And it’s a game that we have to be at our very, very best to overcome them and then we’ll reset for the next one.”