Arjun Bhalla ∙ Feb 20 2023, 2:47 PM

Women's T20 WC 2023: Smriti Mandhana's brawling knock rescues India against Ireland

image-lecwmrz9Mandhana smashed a 56-ball 87 (Source: Twitter)

Prolific opening batter Smriti Mandhana smashed an enthralling 87 off just 56 deliveries, the Women in Blue have put on 155-6 on the board against Ireland at Port Elizabeth. Her knock consisted of nine boundaries and three maximums.

Thanks to Mandhana's knock, India have posted a fighting total against the Irish in windy conditions. However, the total could turn out to be tricky against the minnows Ireland.

The great Indian batting crumbled under-pressure in a must-win game, but Mandhana's knock and Jemimah Rodrigues' quick-fire 19 off 11 deliveries helped them post a respectable total.

Against the swinging ball and Ireland's discipline bowling, the openers struggled to find their way. Although the left-handed opener, unlike Shafali Verma, got the acceleration on the right time but her partner failed to get going.

Captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who hasn't had a good tournament thus far, promoted herself to number three, but for a momentum-breaking 20-ball 13. Richa Ghosh and Deepti Sharma got dismissed for golden ducks, but Mandhana got her partner-in-crime in the form of Rodrigues.

The dual shared a partnership stand of 28 balls off just 16 deliveries, and at one moment, the southpaw was advancing towards her maiden her maiden ton and India's first-ever hundred in the ongoing Women's T20 World Cup 2023. 

But the destiny had different plans as she got dismissed in the penultimate over, just 13 runs shy of a deserving ton. 

For Ireland, the star with the ball was all-rounder Orla Prendergast, who bowled an extremly pleasing spell of 2 for 22 in her four.

The Irish batters would need to bat out of their skins to chase down 156 runs to pull off an upset against the Women in Blue.