India have made it three in three at the ICC Women's World T20 2018, and Smriti Mandhana, the vice-captain of the team, wants the team to maintain their dominant run.
India beat Ireland by 52 runs in their third Group B match to make it three wins in a row and qualify for the semi-finals. They now face Australia in their final league game on 17 November and Mandhana, the opening bat, said that the team will look at the game as "just another match" and not put themselves under any undue pressure.
"I think we will be looking at it as a match only and not just like we need to be on the top of the table of this group," she said of the fixture against the other undefeated team in the group.
"That's what our mindset will be, and to go all out. Before coming into the World T20, Ramesh (Powar, the coach) had told us that you have to dominate each and every match, so that is the only mindset which we had the last three matches, and I don't think it will change in the next match."
That said, Mandhana suggested that India were somewhat below par against Ireland, having failed to reach the target of 170 that they had marked for themselves.
"The first two matches I definitely felt we were good, but today I felt batting could have been better," said Mandhana, who scored 33 and added 67 for the first wicket with Mithali Raj (51). "But bowling and fielding I think we are really good, and we dominated the opposition."
Because of the overnight rains in Guyana, the wicket was "a bit damp", but Mandhana nevertheless thought that India should have got more than the 145/6 they eventually managed. Ireland were restricted to 93/8 in reply.
"I didn't think that 140 was good enough because in T20s you can't keep thinking about the wicket and the outfield because it's such a fast game," she said. "So I think we were aiming at 165 to 170, but unfortunately we could not do that."
Opening the innings with the experienced Raj has given her more freedom to play her shots, Mandhana said.
"It's fun batting with her. But I think both have different mindsets to go about their game, and we just discussed about the wicket and the bowlers, and yeah, we just give enough freedom to each other."
India have now made the semi-final in a second consecutive ICC tournament – after reaching the final of the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 – and Mandhana said that the feat "means a lot" especially after losing to Bangladesh in the Asia Cup 2018 final six months ago, a defeat that had ushered in a few changes.
Another half-century by Mithali Raj and a strong all-round bowling effort sees India prevail over Ireland by 52 runs to qualify for the #WT20 semi-finals! #INDvIRE#WatchThis— ICC World Twenty20 (@WorldT20) November 15, 2018
Scores, stats and video ➡️ https://t.co/5Cl3AlcAzxpic.twitter.com/MhipoQQ4c1
Powar was appointed the head coach after that tournament, and Mandhana thinks the former India off-spinner has been "brilliant in the last three four months".
"It means a lot because after the Asia Cup final, a lot of things happened back home," Mandhana said. "Everyone had actually thought that we wouldn't even make it to the semi-finals because we did not even win the Asia Cup.
"But I guess everyone was motivated enough after the Asia Cup that this time, this is the time everyone will be watching, and we have to prove our point because in 2017 we qualified for the final, but only it cannot happen just once.
"We are such a good team, we have such good youngsters that we need to step up our game every match, and this World Cup was ... we needed to go to the semi-finals, and all 15 of us actually went back after Asia Cup, worked hard on whatever they felt we lacked in the team."
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