“I think the crowd’s a massive win for us”, says Georgia Wareham

In a thrilling match, UP Warriorz led by Alyssa Healy opted to field after winning the toss against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Bangalore’s openers started strongly, with a 51-run partnership before UP’s Anjali Sarvani broke through. Smriti Mandhana and Ellyse Perry then built a formidable 95-run partnership and despite Deepti Sharma dismissing Mandhana, Bangalore finished strongly at 198 runs at 3 wickets. Post-match Jon Lewis, head coach, UP Warriorz, and Georgia Wareham, bowler, Royal Challengers Bangalore addressed a press conference at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

"I think the crowd's a massive win for us", says Georgia Wareham. PC: WPL
“I think the crowd’s a massive win for us”, says Georgia Wareham. PC: WPL

In response, UP Warriorz began aggressively but lost wickets at crucial moments. Alyssa Healy’s 55 and contributions from Deepti Sharma (33) and Poonam Khemnar (31) kept their hopes alive, but Bangalore’s bowling attack, led by Sophie Molineux and Sobhana Asha, restricted them to 175/8. Smriti Mandhana’s stellar innings of 80 runs earned her the Player of the Match award, securing a victory for RCB.

After Mumbai’s head coach Charlotte Edwards, Jon Lewis acknowledged fielding lapses, particularly dropped catches, to the challenges posed by playing under lights. He highlighted that local Indian domestic players, in particular, struggled to adjust to the pace of the ball under artificial lighting, as they got limited practice opportunities under similar conditions, making it challenging for players to judge the depth and speed of incoming balls accurately.

He emphasized the need for more exposure and practice under lights to mitigate these challenges in the future. He further stated, “I think probably primarily it’s the local Indian domestic players that are dropping balls under the lights and I think it’s probably that they’re just not used to the ball coming as fast as it does. It’s very hard to perceive the depth of the ball coming out of the sky, especially if it goes high. The ball comes a little quicker than you expect it under the lights. I think it’s just a little bit of inexperience in terms of playing in those conditions that we are.”

Jon discussed the strategic placement of players within the batting order, focusing on the promotion of Kiran Navgire as an opening batter. Navgire’s performance exemplified the team’s efforts to find effective batting combinations amidst changing circumstances, such as injuries to key players like Vrinda.

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Lewis acknowledged Navgire’s impact stating, “She’s an impact cricketer and so we’ve just gotta work out where the best space for her to impact the game is, and it looks like at the moment, and especially on these wickets here, that the powerplay is the best place to do that.”

Lewis came down hard, stating the decision was fascinating and a massive moment in the game. Quoting, Lewis, “You watch the ball with the naked eye, and you think it might pitch in line, just maybe,” Lewis said after the game. “Then you look at the ball rotating, and well, it’s rotating like a legspinner. There are not many legspinners that go towards that [other] side. It was a fascinating dismissal and a massive turning point for us in that game.”

He further stated, “I don’t know the ins and outs of hawk-eye and the technology and how it works. But it was certainly an interesting passage of play and something that we are pretty frustrated about.”

On the team’s hard work, Jon highlights the necessity brought about by the lack of contribution from local players in the previous season. Their heavy reliance on overseas players was a huge aspect of their gameplay. However, amidst this challenge, there emerges a promising trend throughout the tournament of local players gradually becoming more influential, marking a significant shift in the team dynamics.

He mentioned, “Kiran (Navgire), Deepti (Sharma) before as well, we’ve actually started to get some really nice contributions from our local players, which is something that we’ve worked really hard on ’cause we needed to do that because our local players didn’t contribute much at all last season and we relied very heavily on, our overseas players. I think you’re starting to see a trend throughout the tournament that local players are starting to be more influential, which I think is obviously the purpose of the tournament to grow Indian cricket.”

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Georgia Wareham, reflecting on the experience of playing in front of crowds, emphasized its significance for the team. Initially intimidating, the support became a source of motivation, likened to having a ‘12th man army.’ She highlighted how the crowd’s energy uplifts the team during critical moments, emphasizing its role as a driving force behind their performance.

Georgia Wareham said, “I think the crowd’s a massive win for us. I think, um, a little bit intimidating at first, but I think it’s nice knowing that they’re all cheering for us, um, which as an Australian being over here is a little bit different.”

In discussing her personal growth and interactions within the team, Wareham expressed admiration for fellow players like Sobhana Asha and highlighted the importance of learning from peers. She emphasized the significance of confidence and adaptability, noting the continuous process of refining skills and approaches to the game. Wareham also acknowledged the influence of senior players like Ellyse Perry in setting standards for fielding and teamwork.

Ahead of upcoming matches, Wareham discussed the team’s preparation for adapting to different conditions, particularly the tight schedule with minimal rest days between games. She emphasized the need to stay mentally and physically fresh, focusing on readiness to tackle challenges in the upcoming matches. Additionally, she reflected on her batting performance, expressing a desire to make more significant contributions to the team’s success.

Georgia Wareham highlighted the importance of trusting one’s abilities and remaining open to continuous learning and improvement. She concluded, “Our last three games, we’ve only had a day in between… I think we’ve been sort of getting used to that aspect. I think probably one mentally, I guess is just having a little bit more confidence in it, I think, just having more experience in different conditions around the world and, just trusting what I do best.”

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