MUMBAI: Though Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) were finally off the mark on the points table of the ongoing Women's Premier League (WPL) with a five-wicket win over UP Warriorz, there was no end to the struggles of captain Smriti Mandhana with the bat.
The left-handed Smriti's barren run, especially when facing off-spinners, continued when she tried to sweep off Deepti Sharma, but lost her middle stump to fall for a three-ball duck. Veteran India batter Punam Raut believes Smriti has to be more patient and shun taking the attacking route while facing off-spinners.
"We know the kind of player Smriti Mandhana is, she doesn't need to make big changes in her game. She has been struggling to play off-spinners and we have been saying that she needs to be more patient and rotate the strike in those situations. It'll be better for her."
"This is the one mistake she makes, always trying to attack off-spinners and we're seeing the result of her getting out. I know it won't be a major concern for Smriti because, from what I know of her, she doesn't worry about stuff like this much. Making a comeback from here is in her hands and she knows how to do it. We want to see her score runs," Punam told broadcasters Sports18 and JioCinema.
Mighty relieved after RCB's maiden win in the league, Smriti said, "I asked Megan Schutt and Ellyse Perry if they were this happy after winning the World Cup. They said that it was pretty close (laughs). We have been thinking about how we need that one win on the board to keep our momentum high."
"Finally, we got that win. You saw the celebration of the girls and we are definitely very happy. This is the first year of the WPL and we just picked up RCB's first win in WPL history, so it is a massive achievement."
RCB bowlers finally clicked as a unit to put up a strong show, restricting the Warriorz to 135 in 19.3 overs. With the bat, youngster Kanika Ahuja led the chase with her 46 off 30 balls, laced with eight fours and a six, as Bangalore chased down the total by reaching 136/5 with two overs to spare.
Former India player Reema Malhotra was mighty pleased with Kanika's performance. "The game I have seen from Kanika in domestic cricket has really been developing well. She's still a youngster but the way she uses her footwork and plays in all areas, this is her strength."
"Having a player like this in India is not common. We want more players like her to emerge, so selectors need to pay more attention to this. It'll be good for Team India if she receives opportunities in the future."
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