Women’s World Cup: Top-order has to score runs in a big tournament like this: Mithali Raj

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Her team may have beaten Pakistan by 107 runs in their Women’s World Cup opener but India skipper Mithali Raj on Sunday expressed concerns about the side’s batting, especially the top-order. India posted 244 for seven and bowled out for 137 to record a convincing win at the Bay Oval.

“I am happy we won the first game but a lot of things to work on. When you lose wickets in the middle order, it does put a lot of pressure. The top-order has to score runs in a big tournament like this,” Raj said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

“When you have all-rounders like Sneh (Rana), Deepti (Sharma) and Pooja (Vastrakar), we extend our batting line up. Hope Pooja would be fine before the next game.”

After opting to bat, India were reduced to 114/6 at one point, but Pooja Vastrakar (67) and Sneh Rana (53) put on a 122-run stand to lift India.

Earlier, India got off to a decent start, despite the loss of Shafali Verma (0) in the third over, with Smriti Mandhana (52) and Deepti Sharma (40) putting on 92 runs for the second wicket.

Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad did the star turn with the ball, returning with excellent figures of 4/31 after her full quota of 10 overs.

Seasoned pacer Jhulan Goswami bowled very well to finish the game with impressive figures of 2/29, while there were also two wickets for Rana (2/27), capping off her fine all-round show.

Pakistan skipper Bismah Maroof admitted her team failed to capitalise on the momentum after they had India in deep trouble.

“We bowled well in the middle. We were in the game. We bowled some loose balls and Sneh as well as Pooja played well. Credit to them. We bowled some bad balls and gave away easy runs. We were sloppy on the field as well.

“I think we were doing well and leaked some runs. Didn’t capitalize on the momentum. We need to focus more on batting as we didn’t play some good shots today,” Maroof said.

Vastrakar was named the Player of the Match for her 59-ball 67.

“I’m very happy, my first player of the match award, in my first World Cup game. The plan was to somehow try and get to 200,” Vastrakar said.

“I like to bat in pressure situations, even in domestics, I told the same to Sneh (Rana), to keep the partnership going. The batters told us that the wicket was slow, so the target was 200, but we didn’t bat differently,” she added.

Vastrakar picked up an injury but if the physio of the Indian team is concerned, it is not a matter of concern.

“The physio said that the injury will heal quickly and I’ll be back soon,” Vastrakar said.



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