Jemimah Rodrigues hits 49* before rain ruins first T20 versus Australia
Jemimah Rodrigues would have been the most disappointed as she walked back with Richa Ghosh in the heavy downpour with India in a strong position at 131/4 in 15.2 overs. Rodrigues had smashed a 36-ball 49, but the rain never stopped and she could not get to a deserved half-century as the first T20 against Australia was abandoned.
Rodrigues, who had a brilliant first season for Northern Superchargers in The Hundred in England, scoring 249 runs with a top score of 92*, came to Australia on a high. The 21-year-old though didn’t find a place in the ODIs or the pink-ball Test. She was a substitute fielder, and translator for some of her teammates during interviews besides spending time at the nets.
Playing her first match of the tour, Jemima showed her form was intact. She used the pace of the ball and collected quick runs behind the wicket besides hitting some shots through extra-cover. She became the youngest player to reach 1,000 runs in T20Is with a boundary off debutant Hannah Darlington.
Batting at No 3, Rodrigues joined Shafali Verma after Smriti Mandhana was out for 17 in the fourth over. Verma and Mandhana gave a quick start, scoring 31 in 3.2 overs. Verma was in explosive form as she collected her 18 runs off the three sixes. Lanky Australian pacer Tayla Vlaeminck impressed by bowling at 145 kph twice in the first over. India reached 50 in 5.1 overs.
Off-spinner Ashleigh Gardner scalped Mandhana and Verma, bringing skipper Harmanpreet Kaur to the crease. Maintaining the momentum, Kaur too was in an attacking mode hitting 12 runs off five balls with three fours before left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux trapped her in front. Rodrigues and left-handed debutant Yastika Bhatia then raised 51 runs for the fourth wicket as India reaching 100 in 11.1 overs.
On 15, Bhatia holed out to long on off spinner Georgia Wareham. Richa Ghosh had scored 17 off 13 balls when the rain stopped play and left Rodrigues stranded on 49 off 36 balls (7x4).
The no result meant Australia moved up to seven points. They need to win one of the remaining two T20s to claim the multi-format series. India (5 points) must win both the games.
“It is so good to be back in the team and contributing with the bat. I was not disappointed not being picked for the games as long as the team management found the right balance,” Rodrigues said. “I did have that intent, going out there and doing my bit for the team. I kept questioning when will my time come while sitting on the bench,” said Rodrigues, who attributed her good form to The Hundred. “The runs I scored in The Hundred really helped me gain confidence and I think I could tour Australia owing to that form,” said the young batter who was in poor form in the home series against South Africa and against England.
“The Hundred provided the players with a great platform and now eight Indian players are going to play in the WBBL shortly. It would be great when we will have our own T20 league back home,” said Rodrigues. “I was nervous ahead of today’s game but I spoke to my parents and they read out one of the Bible’s scriptures saying, “God began in me, he will finish”. We played a very fearless brand of cricket today and that’s why we dominated.”This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.