Smriti Mandhana cops a blow on head, World Cup participation in doubt
India opening batter Smriti Mandhana was hit on head in the warm-up game against South Africa on February 27. Mandhana was facing pacer Shabnam Ismail when the incident happened. This was the first warm-up game for both teams in a build-up to the Women’s World Cup. At the time of the incident, the left-hander was attended by the team doctor and was declared fit to carry on.
However, she decided to retire when the scorecard read 30/0, after one and a half overs. The 25-year-old felt no concussion but she left the field as a precautionary measure. Fans are hoping that Mandhana’s injury is not serious and she is available for India’s first WC match against Pakistan.
Talking about the game, South Africa skipper Sune Luus won the toss and invited the Mithali Raj-led side to bat first. The team lost the wickets of Deepti Sharma (5) and Raj (0) cheaply after Mandhana’s incident.
Opener Yastika Bhatia (58) and Harmanpreet Kaur (103) stitched a partnership of 84 after the team was tottering at 35/2. Bhatia was dismissed by opposition skipper Luus when the score read 119. Wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh (11) couldn’t do much with the bat. At 143/4, Kaur and Sneh Rana (3) stitched a partnership of 67 runs for the fifth wicket, although the former did the bulk of the scoring.
After the dismissal of Kaur at the score of 218, the team was bundled out for 244/9. For the Proteas, Ayabonga Khaka took three wickets while Shabnam Ismail, Masabata Klass, Sune Luus, and Chloe Tryon took one each. In reply, the Women In Green and Gold lost the early wicket of Tazmin Brits (0). Brits was caught behind by Ghosh off Meghna Singh. Lara Goodall (18) was clean bowled by left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gaikwad.
At 50/2, skipper Luus (94) joined Laura Wolvaardt (75) and added 80 runs for the third wicket before the latter was dismissed by leg-spinner Poonam Yadav. Half-centuries from the duo and a useful 31 from Marizanne Kapp meant that South Africa was in the game. However, India women held their nerves to win the game by 2 runs.