Smriti Mandhana-1st Indian to hit a ton at WBBL
Smriti Mandhana became the first Indian cricketer to hit a century at the Women’s Big Bash League, in Australia.
Smriti who plays for the Sydney Thunder hit a 114 not out in 64 balls to equal her highest score to the world’s highest score. Mandhana reached the milestone during the chase of 176 against Melbourne Renegades at the Harrup Park in Mackay.
Mandhana, who faced 64 balls, punished the bowlers with 14 fours and three sixes.
Even after such a commendable play, Mandhana could not catapult her team to the play-offs.
Thunder required 13 runs to win in the final over but Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur didn’t allow Mandhana and non-striker Tahila Wilson to hit a single boundary.
The amazing performance shown by the left-hander Smriti helped the team to reach a milestone of 171 and just one six away from victory.
With this defeat, Thunder is out of the play-offs race.
Last moment thrill
The game reached till the last ball and was a nail biter all along. All ardent cricket fans would regret missing such a neck-to-neck match.
The defending champions needed an upset win to keep their slim finals hopes alive, and they had a less-than ideal start with Sammy-Jo Johnson (12) and Phoebe Litchfield (1) dismissed inside the powerplay.
Finding a stable partner in Tahlia Wilson (38 not out from 39 balls), Mandhana posted her third fifty of the season from 33 balls. But the asking rate was climbing with 63 runs needed from the last five overs.
Mandhana shifted gears as she took 24 runs off Holly Ferling in the 18th over. She then brought up her century in 57 balls but there was still work to do as 22 runs were needed from the final two overs.
Renegades skipper Sophie Molineux conceded just nine runs from the 19th over and Mandhana was left to face the off-spin of her national skipper Harmanpreet.
Mandhana, who was the beneficiary of two fielding errors, ultimately failed to hit the last-ball six required to complete what would have been a famous victory.
The last over sealed the deal for Smriti and her team as Harmanpreet did not concede a single boundary with her amazing control over the ball.
While the internet has been abuzz with the achievement of Smriti Mandhana, we must also be proud of our other player in the same game.
Thunder won the toss and asked the Renegades to bat. While batting first, Renegades put on a score of 175 as Harmanpreet put in a special all-round performance.
First, she scored an unbeaten 81 in 55 balls, and then bowled her four overs for just 27 runs, picking up a wicket along the way. She also bowled the last over of the chase, and with the Thunder requiring 13 to win, conceded just eight.
She shared a 91-run stand for the third wicket with English batter Eve Jones (42 off 33 balls). Another Indian, opener Jemimah Rodrigues was out for 2 in the first over.
Mandhana made the WBBL record books with her 114*, now the highest individual score in the history of the competition, joint with Ash Gardner’s 114 off 52 balls for Sydney Sixers against Melbourne Stars back in 2017.
This was also the highest women’s T20 score to be on the losing side and first century by a Thunder batter in WBBL history.
With the victory, the Renegades are on top of the table with 18 points from 12 games while the Thunder are at seventh place, with eight from 12.
The Renegades reclaimed top spot with the win and remain in the box seat to advance directly to the final.