Thursday, April 18, 2024

Handling pressure situations better key to WPL title: Smriti


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New Delhi, March 18: Smriti Mandhana’s self-belief wavered in pressure situations last year but this season she was able to conquer the demons in her mind when pushed against the wall, helping RCB land their first major title in franchise cricket.
Speaking to media after RCB beat Delhi Capitals in a low-scoring WPL final, Mandhana said she has matured as a captain and player since last season.
“One thing that I have learned is to believe in yourself. That was something which lacked in me last year when it did go wrong.
“I doubted a few things in myself but that was the real conversation with my mind, I need to keep trusting myself and I think that was the biggest learning for me,” said Mandhana on Sunday night.
The second season saw Mandhana getting her hands on the trophy while Harmanpreet Kaur had led Mumbai Indians to the title in the inaugural edition. That only shows the depth of Indian cricket, said Mandhana.
“Last year when MI and DC were playing in the final, somewhere deep down I hoped that Harman lifts it because the first edition of WPL and for an Indian captain to win, if not me it has to be Harman. So I was really happy for Harman and whole Mi team,” Mandhana said.
“Second season I became the second Indian captain to win. That really shows the kind of depth Indian cricket has and it’s just the start, we still have a long way to go.”
Kohli congratulates Mandhana and Co
Former RCB skipper Virat Kohli, who is back in India for the IPL, was quick to congratulate Mandhana and the team following the eight-wicket triumph.
“I didn’t hear anything what he (Kohli) was saying because it was too loud. He was just like thumbs up and I responded with thumbs up. He looked really, really happy, there was a bright smile,” she said referring to the video call with Kohli.
“I remember him coming last year, and talk which really helped me personally and also the whole team. He has been with the franchise almost for the last 15 years, so I could see the happiness on his face,” Mandhana said.
DC were going great guns after opting to bat, reaching 64 for no loss in seven overs before RCB spinners – Shreyanka Patil (4/12) and Sophie Molineux (3/20) pulled things back in middle overs to bowl their opponents out for 113.
Mandhana said staying calm in that pressure situation paid rich dividends.
“In the match today, 6 overs 60 runs, a few things didn’t go our way, a field settings which didn’t go our way but the only thing which stayed constant was the belief I have. I was not really panicked about it, I was calm today. I could have clear conversation with the bowlers.
“Sense of calmness since the eliminator. Today also we told each other not to worry and stick to our plans and not to complicate much. We didn’t want to be 20/3 or 4 while chasing 110 odd runs,” she said.
‘Shreyanka most complete cricketer’
Mandhana particularly reserved high praise for young Shreyanka Patil, who took four wickets in the final.
“Shreyanka has just been brilliant. The first 3-4 matches didn’t go her way. She came off a really tough zonal tournament. During a match there I remember having a chat with her when I said don’t worry 17th March you are going to do something special, little did I know that will happen and she will get the purple cap.
“I think she is the most complete player to come to international cricket in the last two years. She feels she belongs to international cricket,” she said.
Meanwhile, DC head coach Jonathan Batty felt they didn’t do justice with the bat, but still fought valiantly to take the match to the last over.
“We fought magnificently, bowled and fielded magnificently. The game to lose with only 3 balls to go was absolutely amazing.
“We didn’t do ourselves great justice with the bat that left us with a few runs short. We should have scored more after that fantastic start,” he said. (PTI)


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