Bangalore. In the opening match of women’s cricket for the first time in the Commonwealth Games, the Indian team will face a challenge from five-time T20 world champion Australia, but veteran opener Smriti Mandhana refused to consider this opponent strong. Under the leadership of Harmanpreet Kaur, India will start its campaign in the Commonwealth Games on 29 July. Mandhana said that the team has made plans for each of its opponents.
Before leaving for England, he said in an online media session in Bengaluru, ‘We have faced Australia in the opening matches of many tournaments. Any team can beat anyone in T20 tournament. I wouldn’t want to make them feel good about it by calling Australia a big team. Certainly matches in Australia, Pakistan and Barbados are important in our mind. We would like to win all these matches.
India had lost to Australia in their first match of the T20 World Cup earlier this year. Indian team will go to Birmingham Commonwealth Games after winning ODI and T20 series in Sri Lanka and Smriti said, ‘Our preparation is really good and I hope we come back with a medal. Our aim is not just to be in the top three, we want to win gold.
The Indian team is impressed by javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra’s achievement of winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. Mandhana said the team would take inspiration from her achievement in their maiden multi-sport event.
The Indian vice-captain said, ‘We all have seen the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, when the Indian flag is raised high and we hear the national anthem. We know what kind of emotion it creates. We have definitely set a target of winning gold. I don’t think we will just look for podium finishes (top three).’
The left-handed batsman said, ‘When Neeraj won the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics, my hair was really raised. We have a chance to achieve that kind of achievement. Of course it is not for the Olympics but for the Commonwealth, but we are all really excited.
The Indian team is in Group A along with Australia, Pakistan and Barbados while England, New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka are in Group B. The top two teams from both the groups will advance to the semi-finals and matches for all three medals will be played on August 7. This 26-year-old player said, ‘Our effort will be to win every match. We have planned for all three teams (group stage). We would like to win all these matches.
He said that in the last few years, many match-winning players have emerged in the Indian team. He said, ‘We are fortunate that in the last few years many players have emerged as match winners in T20 cricket. On a particular day, if two-three batsmen or bowlers perform well, then we will do well in the match.
FIRST PUBLISHED : July 22, 2022, 15:12 IST