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Time to seize big moments: Ravi Shastri

Learn from mistakes, rectify them, take experiences from tours of SA and England - Head Coach throws light on key factors ahead of the long Australia tour
Ravi Shastri head coach of India during day two of the 3rd test match between India and Sri Lanka held at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi on the 3rd December 2017Photo by Prashant Bhoot / BCCI / Sportzpics

It was cloudy, windy and the air had a bit of a chill as Team India made their way to The Gabba for their first training session ahead of the 1st T20I against Australia. The team went through its regular drills, the bowlers bowled full tilt and the batsmen spent long hours in the nets to get into the mix of things.

Head Coach Ravi Shastri was keeping a close watch on the proceedings, getting back with some valuable feedback whenever need be – to batsmen and bowlers likewise.

India have come to Australia after putting up spirited performances overseas namely – South Africa and England. The scoreline in those tournaments might suggest otherwise, but the coach believed there was a lot more to the series than just the scorelines.

“If you look at those Test matches, the scoreline doesn’t’ tell you the real story. There were some very tight Test matches,” Shastri said. “We lost some big moments badly which cost us the series at the end of it. It could have been just an hour in a session over four days, which made all the difference whether it was South Africa or England. You got to learn from that as a batsman or a bowler and see what happens after that. We have to cease the big moments. If they learn from some of the mistakes they made in the earlier tour, it should stand them in good stead here.”

When asked if this was a make or break tour for India, Shastri said, “Not really. The team has done well and you got to learn from your mistakes. The endeavour is to get better when you go overseas and when you look at teams that travel now, there aren’t too many sides that has done well overseas. Australia did for a while in the 90s, turn of the century. South Africa did it for a while but other than them, in the last five or six years you tell me which team has travelled well? Why pick on India?”

He also believed that this team and Captain Virat Kohli are a lot more mature from the last time they toured Australia. “The nucleus of the team is pretty much the same. So if you look at experience-wise, they have gained from touring a lot over the last four years.

“Virat loves coming to Australia and he is passionate about his game. The pitches here suit his style of play. Once you have done well in this part of the world you always want to come out and play well again. He is a professional. He has matured. He has played all round the globe and has captained the side. That alone comes with a tag of responsibility, which has fit well on his shoulders. He has adjusted extremely well but he will not take his foot off the gas, that is for sure.”

When asked if Australia were a less force to reckon with missing out on some big names in the line-up, the coach begged to differ. “I have always believed no team is weak at home. We might have three or four players not playing when a team comes to India, but God forbid if anyone says it is a weak Indian team because you will be surprised. So similarly, we are taking no prisoners. We want to go out and put our best foot forward and focus on our game rather than what’s happening outside.” 

Anand Subramaniam
Anand Subramaniam

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India thrash Australia to top Group B

India snap Australia's 12-match winning streak with a dominating 48 runs victory in the final league game

Smriti Mandhana’s career-best 83 helped India to a 48-run win over Australia and ensured they top Group B heading into the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s World T20. Mandhana was given company by a breezy knock from Harmanpreet Kaur, one that saw the tournament’s 50th six hit.

The win snapped Australia’s 12-match winning streak in the format and gave India only their fourth win in 15 meetings between the two sides.

Mandhana put the Australia attack under pressure for the first time in the tournament, taking India almost single-handedly to a strong Powerplay score of 46 for one, of which she scored 37 off 22. After looking scratchy in the tournament, Mandhana looked in so such problems against the favourites, mixing drives along the ground with sixes in the ‘V’.

She was joined by Harmanpreet Kaur when India were 49 for two in the seventh over, and the pair put on a symphony of stroke-play. Mandhana briefly ceded the stage to Harmanpreet, who took her chances against the spinners to hit three sixes in a 27-ball 43 (3x4, 3x6). The two put on 68 runs off just 42 balls, Harmanpreet scoring 43 of those.

When the India captain was finally dismissed in the 14th over, Mandhana took over again. Benefitting from a review that overturned an LBW, she swept and lofted into the gaps, until finally finding the deep-midwicket fielder in the 19th over, out for a personal-best of 83 (55b, 9x4, 3x6). She brought up 1000 career runs in the process. India finished with their highest T20I score against Australia, despite, Ellyse Perry’s brilliant spell of 3 for 16 in three overs.

Australia looked to be aggressive with the bat, but lost wickets at regular intervals in their chase. After a 27-run opening partnership, Deepti Sharma started the slide, removing both openers off consecutive balls in the fifth over. The two Yadavs, Poonam and Radha joined the fray, picking up the next two wickets, including that of Meg Lanning, to have Australia needing 107 off the last 54 balls with six wickets in hand.

The Indian spinners then applied the screws, using one-sided fields and conceding no boundaries between overs 10 and 14. Perry backed up her bowling with an inventive 39 not out, but she ran out of partners as the required run-rate rose; Australia were bowled out for 119, with Alyssa Healy not batting due to a concussion she sustained while ‘keeping.

Brief scores: India Women: 167-8 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 83, Harmanpreet Kaur 43; Ellyse Perry 3-16, Ashleigh Gardener 2-25, Delissa Kimmince 2-42) beat Australia Women: 119-9 in 19.4 overs (Ellyse Perry39 not out, Ashleigh Gardener 20; Anuja Patil 3-15, Radha Yadav 2-13, Deepti Sharma 2-24, Poonam Yadav 2-28) by 48 runs at the Guyana National Stadium, Georgetown

Player of the Match:
Smriti Mandhana

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