It was a triumphant day for Indian cricket across all boards. As Rohit Sharma & Co. defeated New Zealand in first T20, batter Smriti Mandhana became first ever Indian to hit a century in the WBBL with a strike rate of over 178. The 25-year-old batter from Mumbai hit a sensational knock, scoring 114 runs off just 64 deliveries. She was playing for Sydney Thunder at the Women’s Big Bash League on Wednesday. Unfortunately, her knock proved to go in vain as her side still lost playing against Melbourne Renegades.
Interestingly, her 114-run-inning is the highest ever individual score at the WBBL (Women’s Big Bash League), a record previously held by Ashleigh Gardner since 2017.
While India’s men’s cricket team continues to garner attention and affection of fans across the world, the female team is proving to be a formidable force. Thanks to the heroics of Jhulan Goswami, Mithali Raj and the relentless force of new blood players such as Harleen Deol and Smriti Mandhana, viewers are also coming to women’s cricket more than ever before.
According to ICC, the final of the 2020 women’s world cup was the most watched event in women’s cricket history, and second most-watched event since 2019 men’s world cup. As much as 35% of the total viewership came from India during that match.
The reason to that is simple, Indian women’s cricket is at its best stage since ever. And more and more batters are playing stellar innings to gain attention and trust of Indian fans.
The Facts of the Matter
Indian team’s southpaw opener Smriti Mandhana on Wednesday had a fantastic outing at the Women’s Big Bash League. The left-handed opener scored a fiery 114-run knock, and became the first ever Indian to hit a century at the Australian league. Her fantastic inning had a strike rate of 178 in the end, and at some stages, even touched the 250 mark.
Game Begins, Harmanpreet Kaur Steadies Boat
Playing against Melbourne Renegades, Mandhana’s team Syndney Thunder chose to bowl first. The Renegades got off to a nightmarish start, losing their first two wickets in the first few overs. The team was whimpering at 9/2 initially.
Thankfully, the heroics of Harmanpreet Kaur and her partner Evelyn Jones helped the Renegades get steady. The duo added 91-runs for the third wicket where Harmanpreet was the aggressor. Eventually, the Renegades got to a score of 175/4, with Harmanpreet playing a applause worthy inning of 81 runs off 55 balls.
Sydney Thunder had a challenging target to mount and the team’s openers came with intent. Smriti Mandhana looked to be in a fine form and Sammy too hit two boundaries before she was dismissed. Soon, Phoebe Litchfield was also dismissed for just 1 run.
Responsibility Falls on Smriti’s Able Shoulders
The responsibility to steady the bat fell on Smriti’s able shoulders. Showing no sign of backing off, Smriti pressed on by hitting some delicious boundaries all across the ground. In her 64-ball inning she hit 14 boundaries and 3 maximums.
A beautiful innings!
— Weber Women's Big Bash League (@WBBL) November 17, 2021
In the 20th over, Smriti’s team needed 9 runs to win. However, due to the fine bowling of her Indian team peer Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti couldn’t open her arms. Eventually her team lost the game by just 4 runs.
A Look at Smriti Mandhana’s Records Made Yesterday
With the beautiful 114-run knock, Smriti is on the top of the books as she has equalled the highest individual score in the WBBL, a record previously held by Ashleigh Gardner. She also became the first ever Indian to score a century in the WBBL. Moreover, this was her highest T20 score and second ever T20 century.