SL vs Ind – 1st T20I – Jemimah Rodrigues

Jemimah Rodrigues has seen more ups and downs than a roller coaster in the last few years of her cricket career. She was on the bench last year during the first ODI in England and the T20I series that followed, before missing the ODIs against Australia and returning for the T20Is Down Under. Despite impressive performances in both The Women’s Hundred and the Women’s Big Bash, the 21-year-old missed the flight to the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year.

She continued to work hard away from the limelight and it showed when she amassed 243 runs in six matches of the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy with an average of 60.75 and a strike rate of 167.58 as she led Mumbai to the quarter-finals. She then followed it up with standout performances in the Women’s T20 Challenge.

In her first cap since October 2021, Rodrigues contributed a crucial 36-not-27-ball knockout against Sri Lanka in the first T20I at Dambulla to help India kick off their tour with a win.

“My height is the same, but mentally a lot has changed. In recent years, from the last Sri Lanka tour, the journey has not been very smooth and there have been a lot of ups and downs,” said Rodrigues afterwards. her Player-of-the-Match achievement.

“I’ve also had the opportunity over the past few months to talk to cricketers like Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant and others. They basically said that these moments define you and prepare you for something bigger to come. If you look at it [in a] negative way will not help. But these are the moments that define you as a cricketer. I was blessed to speak with them and some of our teammates.

“I have calmed down during this time and have understood the value of good relationships… my family who has been there. The past few months have helped me understand even my game better. This is the cricketer’s life – nobody’s life is smooth and what I learn to get better every time.”

Her entry on Thursday was sandwiched between the layoffs of set batters Shafali Verma and Harmanpreet Kaur on a slow pitch that was not conducive to stroke play. The ball didn’t make it to the bat and the spinners, led by veteran Inoka Ranaweera, were happily smothering the batters.

But Rodrigues wasted little time and went from the fifth ball she encountered, dabbing past the wicketkeeper against Ranaweera. The confidence was back.

“I’m back in the Indian team after 4-5 months. I was very pumped up today and wanted to give my best,” she said. “Every time you wear the India jersey you are naturally pumped up and this is something that always works for me. I like to be aggressive.

“After getting the belated first borderline, I felt a lot more confident because I was a little nervous about coming back after a long time. That border got me going.”

Rodrigues pushed past the keeper and used the sweep shot – both conventional and slog – to good effect against the spin to score free, playing just eight dot balls during her stay. She played the sweep seven times, scoring 14 runs with the shot.

Rodrigues, who averages over 75 and has a strike rate of over 150 in T20Is in Sri Lanka, praised the conditions in Mumbai – where she comes from – for her success on the island.

“These are very similar songs on” [the ones] back in Mumbai,” she said. “In Mumbai you get the spinning, slow tracks, which is why I’m a good sweeper of the ball. So my stay in Mumbai has helped me to deal with these circumstances and adapt my game to these circumstances.”

India scored 53 of the last five overs of their innings, all thanks to an undefeated 32-run tie between Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma, including a 20-run final. Aside from four borders, the partnership brought much laughter and cheer as the momentum shifted from Sri Lanka to India.

“Deepti coming in and hitting three straight boundaries took all the pressure off,” she said of the all-rounder’s eight-ball 17, “because it wasn’t an easy wicket to hit in the first place, especially for a new batter. coming in and getting those limits was where the momentum changed and our bowlers got a target to bowl free.

“The chuckle was about ‘Shot Deepti! Let’s go!’ when she hit [when I ended] topped it off with a six, Deepti started cheering for me and the roles changed, but it was fun.”

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