Is Smriti Mandhana’s Form A Cause Of Concern For The Australians Ahead Of The Semis?
Form is temporary, but class is permanent.
Not my line, not yours, but rather a fact of life that strongly applies to the great game of cricket.
But truth be told, looking at Smriti Mandhana, what certainly seems to be true is this:
Form is permanent and so is class!
For how else is one going to summarise the recent spate of results that have Smriti Mandhana involved in them?
Where their most recent match outcomes in the ongoing Women’s T20 World Cup is involved, then Team India have been part of what can only be called a mixed run of fortune.
So how is that?
While they lost the game to the supremely mighty English side, arguably the strongest in the sport after the Australians, India, quite simply, ate the Irish for an evening high tea- or so it seemed.
But the common, undulating factor in both games was Smriti Mandhana
With two consecutive fifty-plus scores in each of these games, it could be suggested that Smriti Mandhana has found that lost touch right when it most matters.
And where it stands at the present, then what matters the most is that big win against the side that has the capacity to quite simply polish off the Indian attack akin to some overly hungry child polishing off the entire breakfast: Australia.
In the next few hours, the central focus or highlight for much of the cricket hungry world will be the pulsating India vs Australia contest. It is, after all, the big and much-vaunted semi final stage of a World Cup.
But only the uninformed or the scantly aware will deny the fact that the close focus of nearly every Australian in what’s clearly a formidable line-up will be one particular Indian.
Her name? Smriti Mandhana? Her game? Destroying the best of the attacks.
With scores of 87 (vs Ireland) and 52 (against England), the brave left-hander’s peaked at the right time for her Harmanpreet Kaur-led unit.
If there was one more game where India would want her undisputedly talented batter to come good, then it would be the must-win encounter against a Meg Lanning side that’s packed with several matchwinners.
In what’s clearly an eliminator for the one who loses out takes the next flight back home, Smriti Mandhana has little chance to miss out.
But what makes this soon-to-begin high octane semi final stage all the more enticing is that challenging the authority of one of the best batters out there will be the trinity of Georgia Wareham, Meghan Schutt and Ash Gardner, who collectively account for nearly 21 wickets so far in this World Cup.
To an extent, it won’t be entirely a misnomer to suggest that the Indian side is a tad bit over reliant on the blazing hitting abilities of its experienced white-ball whacker.
After all, Smriti has thudded 2,800 T20I runs so far!
But what could be an ideal scenario for the subcontinental force flexing its muscle against the mighty Australia is if the rest of the team bats around Smriti Mandhana, instead of the batter carrying the team single handedly on her shoulders.
Not that Mandhana, a die-hard Indian cricket obsessive would mind that one bit, but her task in such a scenario would be one excruciating challenge- will it not?
Fortunately, with the sheer weight of runs behind her, 149 in just two games (collectively), India’s much-respected daughter will enter the ground with a pocket full of confidence.
And dare it be said, with a skyrocketing ambition to shatter Australia’s confidence.
What will happen eventually? Let us wait for time to reveal its cards!