Shafali smoked five sixes and 10 fours in her 28-ball 76 not out as she along with Lanning (21 not out; 15b) made a mockery of Gujarat Giants‘ 106-run target by cantering home in 43 balls.
“It was some of the best hitting I’ve seen. I said just keep it simple. Stay still and hit the ball straight. I’m still to get over it,” the five-time World Cup winning Australian skipper said after his 10-wicket hammering of GG.
“That was a pretty cool show to watch from the other end. I was just cheerleading from the other end. It seemed like a new ball wicket.
“We just had to make sure what we had to do. Shafali didn’t make it look very difficult. Those sort of chases can be tricky if you go into a shell,” she added, showering more praise on Shafali.
It was their South African pace-bowling allrounder Marizanne Kapp who set the tone with her sensational display of 5/15.
“Kapp’s natural length is one that works on a wicket like this. She was excellent today, I love watching her bowl. She was frustrated with her performances so far — she shouldn’t have been,” Lanning said.
Wanted to play straight: Shafali
For Shafali, this was her second fifty in four matches in the inaugural WPL. In their WPL Opener, Shafali looked set for a century but got out for 84 (45 balls) while playing an away delivery.
“I got out while playing flick in the last match, so I tried to play straight tonight,” Shafali said.
“I wasn’t in a hurry, but I was trying to give my best during the run chase. Now we can rest and enjoy ourselves.
“I would like to thank Lanning for her advice. I want to work hard in the future and keep scoring and playing in the same way.
“We (openers) tried to give our best for the team, and we managed to do so. We backed ourselves during the chase, kept talking to each other, and you know such small things matter as a player,” Shafali added.
Wanted to perform badly: Kapp
Having erred in the first three matches where she could manage just one wicket from 16 overs, South African Kapp finally hit the straps with an incisive spell.
“Just wanted to perform so badly. It’s not been going so well,” said Kapp after being adjudged Player-of-the-Match.
“I felt I missed my line and length a lot in the last three games. If you want to perform you need to put in the hard work. Good to contribute tonight.
“That’s what makes it tough being an allrounder. If you bowl well and don’t bat well, you don’t feel good. Thankfully I wasn’t needed to bat tonight. We’ve got such a nice group of players. an amazing experience being here.”
Rival skipper Sneh Rana defended her decision to bat and termed Shafali’s innings as “incredible”.
“It’s completely okay. Girls did the best they can do. So it’s fine.
“Pitch was a bit skiddy. It was a good decision (at the toss) because the ball was coming on well.
“Shafali was fantastic tonight. All those shots were incredible.”