What an emphatic win it is!!!!
India Women are through to the semi finals and they did it in style. Riding on Mithali Raj's ton and Rajeshwari Gayakwad’s 5-wicket haul, India thrashed New Zealand by 186 runs to book their berth in semifinals of 2017 edition of Women's World Cup.
What a pleasure it was, to watch this match!!!
Following are some statistical figures of the match:-
Toss - won by NZ, elected to bowl first
India - 265/7 (50 overs)
NZ - 79 all-out (25.3 overs)
Highest scorer for India - Mithali Raj ( 109 runs off 123 balls including 11 fours )
Most successful bowler for NZ - Leigh Kasperek ( 10-3-45-3 )
Most successful bowler for India - Rajeshwari Gayakwad ( 7.3-1-15-5 )
Player of the match - Mithali Raj ( India )
Put into bat first, India had a shabby start after losing both the openers in the first 10 overs. Punam Raut was first to go in 4th over and Smriti Mandhana followed her to the pavilion in the 8th over after being bowled out by Hannah Rowe. ( Rowe found a place in NZ playing XI as a replacement for Erin Bermingham in this match )
Next, Indian skipper M. Raj and middle order batter Harmanpreet Kaur were on crease as India were 31/2 after 10 overs. NZ wicketkeeper Rachel Priest missed a run out chance of Kaur and paid heavy price for it as both these batters went on to build a 100 plus partnership as India's scoreboard read 153/2 after 35 overs.
2nd batting powerplay did not went India's way as they lost two wickets ( Set batwoman H. Kaur and Deepti Sharma ) and were able to fetch only 22 runs from it; as India were 175/4 in 40 overs.
But that didn't dampened the spirits of Indian batters as they were on a mission, determined to win this game. Raj and Veda Krishnamurthy added up 90 runs in last 10 overs to get India past 250 mark which was predicted to be a tough total to chase at Derby.
Many positive changes in the attitude of Indian batters were apparently visible in this game. Some of them are :-
1. Mithali Raj was looking for runs from the beginning itself
2. Both Raj and Kaur aimed to hit at least 1 boundary an over.
3. Quick running between the wickets were seen on a number of occasions enabling them to steal precious 1s
4. Much needed calculated risk was being taken to keep the scoreboard moving
5. Kaur's 60 and V. Krishnamurthy's 70 were other vital contributions from Indian batting side
6. There were two 100 plus partnership stands
Needing a steady start, NZ lost captain Suzie Beats and R. Priest within 1st five overs and the scoreboard read 26/2 in 10 overs. These two wickets were taken by pacers Shikha Pandey and Jhulan Goswami respectively.
Spinners were introduced in 11th over and Deepti Sharma struck in her 1st over itself, getting rid of Katey Martin.
NZ had just reached their 50 runs and another wicket fell on the first ball of 18th over. Gayakwad, playing her first match in this world cup replacing Ekta Bisht, opened her account with this wicket.
Two wickets fell in quick succession after that and at 20 overs, NZ women were 57/6 on board. They were in a huge trouble by then. The pressure build up by the Indian bowlers together with a comprehensive target to chase took the toll on NZ batters.
Soon they collapsed like a pack of cards as the entire team was wrapped up in 25.3 overs even before they could reach 100 run mark.
Watchful delights during this innings were as follows :-
1. Gayakwad broke the backbone of the White Ferns with her sensational spell taking her 1st 5-wicket haul
2. Brisk stumping by wicketkeeper Sushma Verma and stunning catches by Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma and Jhulan Goswami showed the homework done by Indians before this do-or-die match.
India women finished 3rd in the points table and are set to play 2nd placed Australia in the 2nd semifinal on this same ground on 20th July.
Important to be noted, India have won four out of four games in Derby in this tournament. So Indians would be more than happy to have their semifinal clash over here.
As the Women in blue get ready for the big match ahead, we await another magical performance by Raj and team.