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Smriti Mandhana equals Sophie Devine’s mark with 18-ball 50

England Women news

Smriti Mandhana hit a half-century off just 18 balls in a Women’s Cricket Super League match, equalling the women’s Twenty20 record set by Sophie Devine.

Mandhana has been in excellent form for Western Storm in the ongoing WSL, scoring 48 and 37 in the first two matches for her side, but went one better on Sunday, 29 July, by going berserk against the Loughborough Lighting bowlers in a rain-shortened match.

Rain had forced the game in Taunton to be trimmed to six overs per side, and Storm were asked to bat by Lightning, the table-toppers before the game. Rachel Priest, the veteran New Zealand batter, and Mandhana, the 22-year-old Indian opener, went after the bowling straightaway, putting together 71 runs in just five overs.

Priest was quite spectacular too, her 25 coming off 13 balls at a strike rate of 192.30 – she hit three sixes and no fours – but she was shaded by Mandhana, who started with a six and got to the half-century mark in just 18 balls before scoring two more runs to end with 52* in 19 balls.

I had a pretty good season at the top of the order last year, but having someone of her class come in has taken some of the pressure off me

Mandhana hit five fours and four sixes in her innings, the runs coming at 273.68, which meant that even though captain Heather Knight fell for a two-ball duck, Storm finished on 85/2. Stafanie Taylor, who got to face just two balls, hit a six too to finish on 7*.

The record was earlier in the name of Devine, the New Zealand all-rounder. Devine had scored a half-century off 18 balls in July 2015 on her way to 70 off just 22 balls in a T20 International against India.

In the opposition then was Mandhana, who was dismissed for just 4, lbw to Devine. The latter was in the Lightning XI on Sunday, and threatened to undo Mandhana’s good work with another blitz.

Chasing 86, Lightning finished on 67/0, but not for want of trying on the part of Devine, who smashed 46 in 21 balls. But with Rachael Haynes not quite being able to match up – 18* in 15 – Lightning fell short. The result also put Storm on top of the league table.

“I was fortunate to have the best seat in the house to watch Smriti’s innings,” said Priest after the game. “It’s great to have her in the team this season, and she’s made a brilliant start.

“I had a pretty good season at the top of the order last year, but having someone of her class come in has taken some of the pressure off me.”

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