Indians at the Hundred: Jemimah Rodrigues sparkles, slow start for Shafali Verma

Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma and Harmanpreet Kaur show good form in the early stages

Vishal Dikshit
Vishal Dikshit
Ten days into the inaugural Hundred competition, we have already seen some special performances from the five Indian women in the fray, Jemimah Rodrigues leading the way. Here's a round-up.
Jemimah Rodrigues, Northern Superchargers
Innings: 2, Runs: 152, Average: 152, Strike rate: 181, Highest: 92*
Probably in her worst batting phase before coming into the tournament, Rodrigues dazzled on her Hundred debut with an unbeaten 92 off 43 balls studded with a whopping 17 fours and a six. She pulled Northern Superchargers out of deep trouble from 19 for 4 and took them to a stunning six-wicket win with 15 balls remaining. Not once during her innings did it look like she was coming in on the back of a rough patch or that she had been dropped from the recent T20Is against England because of her single-digit scores in the preceding ODIs.
Rodrigues continued her form in the next game with another fifty - 60 off 41 with ten fours - against Trent Rockets that posted a match-winning 149 for her team. She had got a life on her first ball when the Rockets chose not to review an lbw decision which ball-tracking showed would have hit the stumps, and she made the most of it. Rodrigues was also the leading scorer in the women's tournament before Friday's games had started.
Smriti Mandhana, Southern Brave
Innings: 2, Runs: 61, Average: 61, Strike rate: 148.78, Highest: 61*
Mandhana's narrative was quite the opposite. India's top-scorer in the T20Is against England, she started the Hundred with a two-ball duck, caught in the deep on the leg side yet again after similar dismissals against England. And it could have been another catch at deep midwicket in her , had Alex Griffiths of Welsh Fire held on off Nicole Harvey when Mandhana was on 26.
The India batter cashed in further, carting Harvey for a six and a four in her next over on her way to a 35-ball fifty to finish on an unbeaten 61 off 39 balls that took Southern Brave home and earned her the player-of-the-match award. With three sixes struck gloriously down the ground, Mandhana proved that a duck first up was probably just a one-off.
Harmanpreet Kaur, Manchester Originals
Innings: 2, Runs: 78, Average: 78, Strike rate: 123.80, Highest: 49*
Coming in on the back of two decent knocks against England, Kaur remains Manchester Originals' top batter so far, though both her knocks have come in losing causes. She started off with a 16-ball 29 against Oval Invincibles that featured four fours in five balls - including three on the trot - off Mady Villiers' offbreaks. Kaur appeared in full flow, sweeping and smashing the entire spin attack also comprising Dane van Niekerk and Danielle Gregory for a combined 27 off 12 balls off the three bowlers.
However, Kaur couldn't get as much freedom while chasing 114 against Birmingham Phoenix when her team was reduced to 35 for 4 after 44 balls. From No. 4, she struck two of the four fours her team managed but she, too, struggled to break free, also hampered by a lower-back issue she picked up while diving at the non-striker's end to make her ground towards the end of the innings. Eventually, Kaur laboured her way to an unbeaten 49 off 47 that saw her team 20 runs short.
Shafali Verma, Birmingham Phoenix
Innings: 2, Runs: 19, Average: 9.50, Strike rate: 82.60, Highest: 13
Easily the most destructive Indian batter in terms of reputation, Verma has failed to get going so far in two innings. Off the 23 balls she has faced while opening, she has managed just 19 runs with three fours. Verma started off in the first game with two consecutive fours off Naomi Dattani, but lasted only five more balls before being undone by a slower delivery from Freya Davies which knocked over her leg stump to send her back for a run-a-ball 13.
In the next match - again batting first - Verma couldn't get off the blocks as the only delivery she could send to the boundary was a low full-toss, but even that couldn't help her score at a strike rate of even 100. Three balls later, she top-edged one from Laura Jackson straight to point for an uncharacteristic 10-ball 6.
Deepti Sharma, London Spirit
Innings: 3, Runs: 32, Strike rate: 103.22, Highest: 28, Balls bowled: 55, Wickets: 3, RPB: 1.30
Sharma has only one double-digit score for her in three innings, but has been consistent with her wicket-taking skills, two of her three scalps being of top-order batters. She has been a go-to bowler for London Spirit, bowling the second-most deliveries (55) after Freya Davies' tally of 60.
Her best game with the bat was the first, against the Phoenix, when her 28 off 24 deliveries helped her side seal a tight chase of 129. She survived a very close lbw call on no score off her fourth ball before combining with Heather Knight for a steady stand. Moreover, her back-to-back fours off Issy Wong brought the equation down to a comfortable 37 off 35. Sharma also opened the bowling earlier and bowled eight dots out of 20 to concede 1 for 26.
In the next two games, she started off with a wicket in each match but managed only single-digit scores as the Spirit went down in steep chases of 133 and 152. Against the Invincibles, Sharma fell short when trying to steal a run as Fran Wilson's direct hit was too much for her dive. She would be more disappointed about her dismissal against the Rockets, though, for top-edging a full-toss well down the leg side to short fine leg for 1.

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo