W Power 2024

Rodrigues kicks off WPL's Delhi leg in style with a Jem of a knock

Why women's cricket needs more like the Delhi Capitals batter

Published: Mar 6, 2024 05:23:03 PM IST
Updated: Mar 6, 2024 05:30:54 PM IST

Rodrigues kicks off WPL's Delhi leg in style with a Jem of a knockJemimah Rodrigues of Delhi Capitals plays a shot during the WIPL match between Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians at Arun Jaitley Stadium on March 5, 2024 in Delhi, India. Image: Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images
 
Playing for the first time in their home city in the Women’s Premier League (WPL), the Delhi Capitals had got off to a brilliant start against Mumbai Indians, thanks to Shafali Verma’s quick 28 off 12. But then all went a bit downhill. They were at 79-2 in 9.3 overs, having just lost Alice Capsey, who was struggling to get going. Their opponents had a strong batting line-up, and a steep target had to be set on a flat wicket if they were to make a match of it.
 
In walks Jemimah Rodrigues to join skipper Meg Lanning. Rodrigues has a reputation of playing shots all around the park, of being a street-smart cricketer. She understands game situations and plans her knocks smartly. But she starts off slow here, knowing Lanning is playing well. She is just trying to rotate the strike as much as possible. But, in the 13th over, Lanning is dismissed for a good-looking 38-ball 53 and Delhi is 114-3.
 

Rodrigues still hasn’t connected any big shots, and after the end of 15 overs, is on 13 off 14. “Is it not Jemimah’s day?” must have been the conversation going around in the crowd. Rodrigues is all of 23, but has already played 92 T20Is, 27 ODIs and 2 Tests for national team. Not many women cricketers have played so many matches in their entire career. She was just 18 when she made her international debut. But her form has been flailing for some time. She has been scoring cameos, but the team needs more from her if Delhi is to challenge Mumbai.
 
In the beginning of the 16th over, Rodrigues gets down on one knee to Shabnim Ismail—the fastest bowler in women’s cricket—and whacks the ball towards the cow corner for a boundary. This is the ignite she needed. Her intent looks clear now.
 
In the fourth ball of the same over, she again makes room and hits Ismail for another four, this time through covers. Even Ismail is impressed by the shot as she nods her head. In the next over, she takes on Nat Sciver-Brunt– another world class cricketer. Rodrigues is now walking down the wicket, going deep inside the crease, tackling both fast bowlers and spinners, through the off side and on. She is creating a show.
 
“What has Jemmi had tonight,” screams the commentator quite a few times as Rodrigues continues to charge. She reaches her fifty with a six in just 27 balls. She hits three sixes and eight fours to end up with an unbeaten 33-ball 69-run—the best knock of WPL 2024 so far in terms of strike-rate. Her knock steers Delhi Capitals to a huge total of 192 runs.
 
"I think more than anything else today, it was what I needed to do for the team to get a good score. I never imagined that it would be a-33 ball 69." Jemimah said after the match.

Also read: Setbacks will make you stronger, better: Jemimah Rodrigues

 
She also acknowledged the roaring ovation that the crowd gave her. “I loved the atmosphere. Finally, we get to play on our home ground because we played in Mumbai (last season), in Bengaluru earlier, but now finally in Delhi. The crowd always gets me going, they keep me pumped up and I really take energy from them. Every time I was going to the boundary they were cheering, they were asking for dance moves. It was a nice experience out there," she said.
 
Later in the second innings, she grabbed a brilliant catch as well. Delhi Capitals landed a comprehensive 29-run win, and went to the top of the points table with four wins in five matches. Rodrigues was awarded the player of the match as well. But this innings from her was more than just a match-winning knock. It was a statement that even women’s cricket matches could keep the crowd on toes and give them the worth of their tickets.

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