A sensational Opener & an energetic Tweaker 

While Ekta Bisht enabled India to score a comfortable win against Pakistan on Sunday, Mandhana, who failed against Pak, has been brilliant in the ICC Women’s World Cup

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Vikrant Jha

The Indian Women’s team, led by Mithali Raj, has been doing well recently and three wins out of three matches in the ICC Women’s World Cup is just a stamp to their authoritative performance.

But a team only performs well when it has gotten the right kind of players, who have an ability and a habit of putting their hands up and win the match for their side from any situation. Off late, India has managed to find such players and the results have only improved.

Smriti Mandhana: The aggressive opener everyone wants in their team

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
Mandhana: The aggressive opener

Virender Sehwag, himself a legendary Opener, was told on twitter that Smriti Mandhana is the “female version of Virender Sehwag”, but his reply not only shut down such claims but also applauded her performance. Sehwag said that the 20-year-old is the first version of herself, not a male version of the legendary cricketer, and his reply was perfect as Mandhana has already created a name for herself.

India won the toss against Pakistan on Sunday and elected to bat first. Smriti Mandhana came to start the Indian innings along with Punam raut. The County ground in Derby erupted as they saw Mandhana taking the strike. The crowd knew that they were not going to see a Sachin Tendulkar straight drive or a Virender Sehwag upper-cut, but they somehow had an idea that they were going to witness the rise of another prolific cricketer, in Smriti Mandhana.

The Maharashtra-born Indian Opener had already produced a couple of blistering knocks; 90 off just 72 against England followed by an unbeaten 106 against West Indies. She failed against the arch-rivals Pakistan as she departed on just 2 but an average around 36 and strike rate of 77.5 in ODIs is a sealed stamp to her abilities. The quality Indian Opener has already amassed one short of 900 runs in just 26 matches with the help of six half-centuries and a century.

When Mandhana failed, Bisht sustained

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
Ekta Bisht proved her mettle once again on Sunday in the match against Pakistan and became the 5th highest wicket-taker for India in the ODI format

Another name, along with the usual ones of Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and Jhulan Goswami, who has helped the Indian team progress is of the 31-year-old left-arm orthodox, Ekta Bisht.

Against Pakistan on Sunday, when the batsmen failed and let India down to a paltry total of 169, Ekta Bisht was entrusted by the Indian Captain to share the new ball with experienced Jhulan Goswami. Bisht didn’t disappoint, just like she had done on so many occasions previously. India needed initial breakthroughs to have a chance in the match, Bisht provided them with a wicket in her first and India’s second over. Then, India needed quick wickets to break Pakistan’s back and push match further away from them, Bisht scalped two more wickets; one in India’s sixth over followed by another one in eighth. At the end of it all, India needed to finish the match by picking up the tail-enders, Mandhana picked up another two wickets; this time Pakistan’s eighth and ninth scalp. Every time Mithali Raj looked for someone to pick a wicket, Bisht was there for the skipper and that’s exactly how India conquered Pakistan by 95-runs.

This, by no means though, was the first time the spinner spun a web around the opposition and forced them to surrender. 68 wickets in 43 ODIs at an impressive average of 19 and a staggering economy rate of 3.3 speaks volume about the talent of the Almora born tweaker.

Interestingly, Ekta Bisht had registered her best ever figure against the same opposition in February this year in the ICC Women’s World Cup qualifier. Her figures of 10-7-8-5 wicket had restricted Pakistan to a mere 67.

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Published: 03 Jul 2017, 12:50 PM