Breakdown - Smriti Mandhana 13* (3) in the Super Over
Written By: Jeet Vachharajani
Picture Courtesy: Hotstar
In women's cricket, there are only 4 fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle in the non-powerplay overs. Australia had their plans in place for Heather Graham when bowling to Smriti Mandhana. But what Mandhana did was a pure show of game awareness & smarts. I will break down ball-by-ball how Mandhana took on Graham in the Super Over by doing what she didn't in the actual game.
Graham vs. Mandhana - Actual game
In the non-powerplay overs, Australia had a packed off-side ring with 3/4 fielders outside the circle being on the leg-side. Mandhana faced a total of 9 balls from Graham with 5 of those being after the powerplay. Out of those 5 deliveries she faced, she did not hit a single shot to the off-side.
Graham vs. Mandhana - Super Over
In the Super Over, Australia made a slight adjustment, but continued with a packed off-side ring with no one patrolling the boundary square or fine on the off. The field was barely different, but Australia erred. Alyssa Healy stood up to the stumps in the game, but decided to stand well behind for the Super Over, possibly to negate any chances of byes. For a bowler like Graham, the WK standing up to the stumps is vital!
Healy not standing up to the stumps allowed Mandhana a lot of breathing space of moving around in the crease. It's exactly what she did when she took the strike against Graham in the Super Over.
Immediately, Smriti made room and thrashed the ball to the off-side by going over that packed off-side field to accumulate 4 runs. Note again: She hadn't played a single shot to the off in the game (none after powerplay and only 1 in the powerplay), but here she was thrashing the very first ball and playing around with the field set by Australia and exposing their little tactical error.
Next ball, same story! Mandhana yet again makes room and lofts it inside-out to the off for a 4. Graham's plan was to not give her any room, but Mandhana was up to the task of moving outside the leg and targeting the off. That's 10 runs in 2 balls that she smashed to the off!
Graham had to adjust further as cramping her didn't work. So what she did on the last ball was follow Mandhana more and give her no room whatsoever. That's when Mandhana decided to slog it to the leg for the first time & managed to squeeze out 3 runs.
From not a single shot in the actual game in the non-powerplay overs to hitting 10 off 2 in the Super Over that helped to turn the game in India's favour. Incredible smarts!
Note: All screenshots taken courtesy of Hotstar.