“We knew she had made a difference” Smriti Mandhana heaps praises on Pooja Vastrakar

In the recently concluded South Africa tour of India, from June 16 to July 9, the hosts dominated with a clean sweep in the 3-match One-Day International (ODI) series, a comfortable 10-wicket victory in the one-off Test, followed by a dominant win in the 3rd Twenty20 International (T20I) to draw the series 1-1.

We knew she had made a difference Smriti Mandhana heaps praises on Pooja Vastrakar
We knew she had made a difference Smriti Mandhana heaps praises on Pooja Vastrakar

Pooja Vastrakar, the right-arm medium pacer, had a notable performance in the T20I series being the leading wicket-taker with 8 scalps to her name. With the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup scheduled to take place in Bangladesh in October, Indian vice-captain Smriti Mandhana said that Pooja Vastrakar will be crucial for India at the World Cup.

Vastrakar registered her T20I best of 4/13 in the final game on July 9, which helped the hosts thrash the Proteas by 10 wickets to level the T20I series.

Smriti Mandhana praised Pooja Vastrakar’s performance, highlighting her impressive figures on flat wickets in the first two matches. She expressed hope that Vastrakar would continue her excellent form, emphasizing her crucial role for the team in the upcoming World Cup.

“In the first two matches, the wickets were flat, and for her to come with such figures is amazing. We hope she keeps doing the same things and will be crucial for us in the World Cup,” Mandhana stated.

Mandhana also commended Vastrakar’s brilliance with the ball, marveling at her stamina and endurance throughout the long series, especially as a bowler.

“She is brilliant with the ball. It’s been a long series for all of us, and being a bowler, I wonder how she has done that (carried on without getting tired)?” she added.

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Pooja Vastrakar has been in exceptional form lately and in the 5-match T20I series against Bangladesh in April-May, she collected five wickets with an economy of 6.38. With the World Cup being in Bangladesh later this year, this performance suggests a good sign for the team.

Mandhana praised Pooja Vastrakar for her performance, noting that even during the Bangladesh T20I series, Vastrakar’s bowling, especially in the death overs, was impressive. Mandhana remarked how difficult it was to see the ball when Vastrakar was running in so quickly.

Quoting Mandhana, “Even during the Bangladesh T20I series, the way she bowled, especially during the death overs, I struggled to see the ball when she was running in so quickly.”

Mandhana also emphasized the significant impact Vastrakar has made with her bowling in recent months, stating that the team was confident in her abilities coming into the series. Since January 2024, Pooja Vastrakar has taken a total of 22 wickets, with 16 of them in the T20I format. In the last match, she also registered a four-wicket haul and with two important competitions in near future, it’ll be hoped she carries this form into the competitions, Asia Cup and T20 World Cup, and also steps up with the bat.

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