Indian spinner Radha Yadav hailed the impact of bowling coach Narendra Hirwani after claiming career-best figures of four for 23 during India’s seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their final group stage clash of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 at Junction Oval in Melbourne.
India’s spinners have been the talk of the tournament so far in Australia and Yadav was the latest to shine, laying the foundations for their victory in Melbourne with a four-wicket haul to restrict Sri Lanka to 113 for nine.
But the left-armer, who was not in the starting XI when Poonam Yadav spun Australia into a twist in their opener, was reluctant to take the credit herself and heaped praise on former India leg-spinner Hirwari for getting her back to her best.
“I knew if I got the opportunity, I could help the team win. It feels great when you do something good for your team. I worked hard for the last two weeks and I’m really happy it paid off. Narendra [Hirwani] has been with us since the West Indies tour last year in November. He has definitely worked a lot on my bowling," the ICC press release quoted Yadav as saying.
“My mindset often gets jumbled and I start overthinking about a lot of things, especially my action and my deliveries in general, but he has supported me a lot by freeing my mind up and clearing the clutter.We were working hard for this, so I’m really happy that we have won four consecutive matches. I’m feeling good in general now and I want to do even better in the semi-finals," she added.
After Yadav tore through the Sri Lankan batters with her match-winning bowling performance, Shafali Verma proved her star power again by hitting 47 to send them on their way in the chase.
Sri Lanka were left rueing opportunities to remove her from the middle, but Kavisha Dilhari spilled at extra cover before Sathya Sandeepani also failed to hold on.
Captain Chamari Athapaththu, who scored 33 with the bat, knows dropped catches against matchwinners have cost her side but also recognises the need for others to step up alongside her in the middle.
“We dropped Sophie Devine twice, then we dropped Rachael Haynes twice and now Shafali Verma. Catches win matches, and we have to be taking them when aggressive batters give them, otherwise, we can’t stop them. Hopefully, our batting unit steps up in the next game. We don’t have many experienced batters, so I have to try and stay there and play my positive cricket," said Athapaththu.
“The whole batting line-up depends on me, so we are trying to improve that area in the next couple of months. India are a great team and I hope to see them play in the final," she concluded.
Notably, India had earlier booked their place in the semi-final of the tournament after registering back-to-back wins against Australia, Bangladesh and New Zealand.