Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Rodrigues makes promising return but rain forces abandonment of first T20I. Rodrigues made unbeaten 49 off 36.
Rodrigues made unbeaten 49 off 36.
Rain cut short India's intent-filled batting, which was led by the in-form Jemimah Rodrigues as she marked her international return with an unbeaten 49 off 36 balls. Rodrigues, who last played in the ODI series against England in July, arrived at the crease in the fifth over with the openers back in the hut while she also saw her skipper get out before the powerplay. At 55/3, India were in danger of caving in under the pressure created by Australia but Rodrigues' well-paced innings helped her team to a good position before rain played spoilsport.
Rodrigues, assigned the anchor's role in the team, went about her job efficiently. She rotated the strike well while also cashing in on boundary opportunities to set up a good platform for India. There was as many as eight fours scored in the fourth wicket stand, with Rodrigues scoring six of them while debutant Yastika Bhatia supported her well in a 51-run association. While Georgia Wareham ended the partnership with the wicket of Bhatia, Richa Ghosh struck three fours off Tahlia McGrath to continue India's fearless batting.
Rodrigues closed in on a half-century but rain prevented that from materialising as it forced an end to India's innings at 131/4 in 15.2 overs. The weather did not get any better, preventing even a shortened contest, as the teams split points with Australia leading India 7-5 in the multi-format series, with two more T20Is left to play in the series.
“Obviously I'm not very disappointed (not being able to score a half-century), just feeling good to be back on the field and playing for the country again. When I was in the UK I got this opportunity but I couldn't make the most of it. I was just to be back out there after so long, I've waited a long time for this…Today the chance came and I was just enjoying it. I'm not very disappointed that the fifty did not happen because I know there are loads of runs coming,” said a confident Rodrigues.
“Even before coming in for today's game, Ramesh [Powar] sir has been constantly in touch with me in the nets … giving me confidence. Today also Ramesh sir wanted me to play positive cricket, and play the anchor role. Mine is an anchor role, to play for the singles and doubles and play with a good strike rate. That was the plan,” said Rodrigues about her role.
Earlier, Shafali Verma got going with a six over cover off Tayla Vlaeminck in the opening over before sending one past the long-on fence off the same bowler in the third over after India were asked to bat. Smriti Mandhana, meanwhile, took the attack to Sophie Molineux scoring 14 runs in the second over with the help of two fours and a six. The opening stand, however, came to a halt in the fourth over as Ashleigh Gardner struck twice in four deliveries to send both Mandhana and Shafali back. Mandhana mistimed a loft to mid-off while Shafali, after executing a slog-sweep for a six, attempted the same but was caught at deep mid-wicket.
Despite the wickets, India's aggressive batting continued as Harmanpreet Kaur, playing her first game in the series after recovering from a thumb injury, did not show any signs of rustiness. She pulled and flicked Vlaeminck for two fours in the fifth over before sweeping a Molineux delivery for a four. Rodrigues also struck her first four off Molineux as India crossed 50 before the powerplay was completed. Harmanpreet's innings did not last beyond the powerplay as Molineux trapped the India captain in front with an arm ball. But Rodrigues' assured innings that followed will give India plenty of confidence going into the last two games, which they need to win to clinch the series.
“We are very confident, especially playing the last few games. The last two ODIs went so close and the Test match where we fought back so well. That obviously gives us a lot of momentum and as we spoke in the dressing room, we have to continue the same momentum. And we have a very young side, a lot of energy in the side, everyone is fearless, so we just want to play a fearless brand of cricket.”
Brief scores: India 131/4 in 15.2 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 49*; Ashleigh Gardner 2-28) vs Australia. Match abandoned.