“Of course, we are missing Smriti Mandhana”, says Skipper Mithali Raj

Mithali Raj’s well-made 59 and Yastika Bhatia’s vital 41 went in vain as the White Ferns defeated India by 62 runs in the 1st ODI of the 5-match series on Saturday. Bhatia who was promoted to the opening spot alongside Shafali Verma in absence of Smriti Mandhana, gave her best to keep the scorecard moving with wickets falling from the other end but the lone efforts from the two weren’t enough to clinch victory against the team that saw an amazing century by Suzie Bates.

 

Mithali Raj in action during 1st ODI against New Zealand. PC: Getty Images
Mithali Raj in action during 1st ODI against New Zealand. PC: Getty Images

 

It was the 200th ODI innings with the bat for the all-time ODI leading run-scorer Raj who smashed her 60th ODI half-century recording her 27th ODI 50+ score while chasing getting ahead of England’s Charlotte Edwards with whom she was tied at the top with 26. The Lady Tendulkar as she is known, also completed 1000 ODI runs against New Zealand becoming the 2nd woman after Edwards to reach 1000 ODI runs milestone against 4 teams (Australia, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka),

Commenting on the loss in the post-match presentation, Skipper Raj admitted that the absence of an experienced batter like Mandhana is affecting the team. As told by some of her teammates Smriti along with emerging players Meghna Singh and Renuka Singh Thakur is still in New Zealand government’s Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) policy the reason for which is not known yet.

“We definitely had our preparation camp. But the extended period of quarantine also didn’t help. It is very important to get used to the conditions as the WC is here. We definitely made a comeback in the latter half of the first innings. It took some time for the bowlers to get used to the windy conditions as it was a little breezy,” Raj said in a report by ANI

“The spinners are an experienced lot, and they did well to come back. We should be able to score 270.

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“Of course, we are missing Smriti Mandhana. But it is an opportunity for others to showcase their talent. We need to set the pace to get to 250-260 whether we are batting first or second.,” she further added

The 2nd ODI is scheduled for Tuesday, February 15 at 3:30 AM (IST) and we hope to see the 2021 ODI Women’s Cricketer of the Year, Smriti Mandhana back in action. Those in India can watch the match LIVE on Amazon Prime Video.

Author of the poetry book ‘The Scent of Rhythm’, I am a passionate writer and a Sports enthusiast who writes on Cricket and plays Badminton.

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