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ICC Women’s World Cup: Confident India face West Indies

India registered an impressive victory in their ICC Women’s World Cup opener against England, with openers Poonam Raut and Smriti Mandhana leading the way.

cricket Updated: Jun 28, 2017 23:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
ICC Women’s World Cup,India vs West Indies,Mithali Raj
India's Smrti Mandhana celebrates her fifty against England in the ICC Women’s World Cup.(Action Images via Reuters)

India captain Mithali Raj insists her side is in a confident mood after its opening victory over hosts England, as they prepare to face the West Indies in Taunton on Thursday.

India scored an impressive 281/3 in their ICC Women’s World Cup opener against England, with openers Poonam Raut (86) and Smriti Mandhana (90) leading the way. It was the highest score the team has ever put on when batting first and Raj believes that will give her side plenty of confidence for the rest of the tournament.

Deepti Sharma also took 3/47 as India bowled England out for 246. Yet the skipper is adamant her side will improve as the ICC Women’s World Cup progresses – starting against the West Indies.

“We won against the hosts in the World Cup when we have only 4-5 girls who have played in a World Cup before – for the rest, it was their first World Cup. So considering all those factors, it’s great that the team has done well but it’s only the first game,” Raj said.

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“We still have six more games in the group stage, so I just hope the girls continue this form. All games are going to be very close and intense. I hope that the team really improves over the coming matches.”

Raj was particularly pleased with how her opening batters went about their job against England as Raut and Mandhana put on 144 before the loss of the first wicket, seeing out over half the team’s overs.

“They (Raut and Mandhana) just played each ball on its merit and kept going to 25 overs. Half of our overs were played by our openers, which is a great stand and we are now looking for similar opening partnerships in the coming games,” she added.

“If you have a solid opening partnership then the middle order can carry on from there, which makes it much easier to post 250 and above. That’s always a good score in a game of women’s cricket.”

For the West Indies, the losing finalists from the 2013 event and the reigning ICC Women’s World Twenty20 champions, they know they will need to improve their 50-over game if it is to progress beyond the group stages.

Hayley Matthews top scored for West Indies with 46 as they were bowled out for 204 in their eight-wicket loss to Australia here.

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And batter Chedean Nation knows the West Indies must concentrate on building partnerships in order to post a more competitive total.

“We need to focus on partnerships. We saw the Australians got one big partnership at the top (171 between Beth Mooney and Nicole Bolton) but unfortunately we didn’t capitalise on our partnerships. Hopefully we can do that against India and it can make a difference,” Nation said.

“We know we have work to do but the girls are working really hard in the nets and it’s just unfortunate we ended up on the losing side against Australia, but we’ll bounce back for sure against India.”

First Published: Jun 28, 2017 20:09 IST