Mithali, Rajeshwari seal India a semis spot in ICC Women’s World Cup
Derby: Riding on left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad’s brilliant five-for and skipper Mithali Raj’s magnificent century, India crushed New Zealand by 186 runs to storm into the semifinals of ICC Women’s World Cup to here on Saturday.
Put into bat, India recovered from an early wobble to score a challenging 265/7 in their final league match, riding on a 132-run stand between Mithali (109) and Harmanpreet Kaur (60) and a quickfire 70 by Veda Krishnamurthy.
India then produced a superb bowling display to dismiss the Kiwis for 79 in just 25.3 overs.
Gayakwad (5/15) was the peak of the bowlers with her five-wicket haul, while Deepti Sharma (2/26) scalped two and Jhulan Goswami (1/14), Shikha Pandey (1/12) and Poonam Yadav (1/12) picked one each respectively.
India will take on Australia in the second semifinals on July 20 at the same venue – Derby – after finishing third in the league stage with 10 points. Host England will play South Africa in the first semifinals on July 18 at Bristol.
“Extremely happy. For a couple of us, this will be the last World Cup, so our first aim was to enter semifinals,” said Mithali, who was adjudged the player of the match for her 109.
“I’ve always dreamt of getting runs for the country. The hunger never dies. There were two vital stands, with Harmanpreet and Veda (Krishnamurthy). After the powerplays, we needed more runs. Her (Krishnamurthy’s) 70 was as important as my 100. Harmanpreet’s knock was important too,” she said.
“If you’re aiming to be in the top four teams in the world, you have to come back after defeats. In the previous World Cups we had not done that, so it was important to fire today,” Mithali said, talking about the two consecutive defeats before today’s win.
Gayakwad said, “I was out for six games but I didn’t feel bad. We were doing so well, I was happy. When I got the chance, I wanted to give my all. This is my best performance, I hadn’t taken a five-for previously, so this is special.”
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