We need someone to bat through 20 overs: Smriti Mandhana

Whitewashed by New Zealand women in the three-match T20 series, India opener Smriti Mandhana Sunday said her team needs to address its batting woes, especially after losing all the games from winning positions.

India almost pulled off a dramatic win but failed to score a boundary in the final delivery to lose the third and final T20 by a mere two runs here. Chasing 162, Mandhana took the Indian team on course for a consolation win with a career-best knock of 86 from 52 balls but the visiting side failed to build on her scintillating knock to end the innings at 159 for 4.

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Smriti Mandhana scored 86 runs from 52 balls in the final T20I of the three-match series against New Zealand. (AP/File Photo)

“Well, I think the girls fought really well. If you look back at the series and see, 70 or 80 percent 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,” said Mandhana.

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“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 said.

Mandhana returned as the highest run-getter in the T20 series, amassing 180 runs from three games at an average of 60, including two half-centuries. But she didn’t get enough support from the other end and the left-hander rued her inability to get India home on Sunday.

“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.

Counting 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.”

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Mandhana was delighted to see the crowd response in the entire tour and hoped for the same response from the fans of women’s cricket in the future. “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 the 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.

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