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Mithali Raj confident of beating Australia juggernaut in ICC Women’s World Cup

India have lost 34 out of 42 games against Australia, who are the six-time world champions. Mithali Raj’s side will be aiming to break their losing streak in the semifinal of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.

cricket Updated: Jul 16, 2017 12:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mithali Raj,ICC Womens World Cup 2017,India national womens cricket team
India entered the semifinal of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 with a comprehensive 186-run win over New Zealand and they will face Australia, against whom they lost by eight wickets in the league stage.(Action Images via Reuters)

Mithali Raj, the leading run-getter in women’s cricket and the skipper of the Indian cricket team, is confident of her side’s chances against reigning and six-time world champions Australia ahead of their semifinal encounter in the ongoing ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 clash at Derbyshire on July 20.

India sealed their spot in the semifinals with a 186-run win over New Zealand in their last league game. This was their biggest margin of win in terms of runs but the face an uphill task of beating Australia, who thrashed them by eight runs in the league game. In 42 matches so far, India Women have beaten the Australian Women in eight matches, while losing 34.

However, the drubbing of New Zealand has given Mithali’s team the necessary boost of confidence ahead of the semifinal clash, and the captain expects her team to produce a similar show.

“Australia are a very good side, a very rounded side. They have a lot of depth in their batting and they have good bowlers. It is how the team responds to the situation (which is) very important. If we continue to play the way we have played, there is a great chance that we can beat Australia,” Mithali said after India’s win over New Zealand.

Mithali Raj continued her fine form in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 as she slammed her sixth century. (Action Images via Reuters)

Mithali revealed her message to the team which made India produce such a strong performance despite losing their previous two games by big margins.

She said, “I am very happy and thrilled because until yesterday most of the girls were very down because of the performance that we displayed in the last two games — one against South Africa and Australia. The side were a on the back foot after two games. I told the girls that if we are aiming to play the semifinals or trying to be the top four in the world, it is important that we need to make comebacks after disappointments,” she added.

Early inroads the key

The Indian captain also laid emphasis on the fact that she will be expecting early inroads against Australia from her fast bowlers.

“It is always important that the fast bowlers give you those couple of early wickets then the spinners really come in form… they do not have the pressure of getting the first wicket. Usually it happened in the last two games against Australia and South Africa that the spinners had a lot of pressure when they came in to get that one wicket,” Mithali said.

India have won only eight out of 42 encounters against Australia in ODIs. (Action Images via Reuters)

“When we had the (wicket of) Suzie Bates in the second over, we knew that they are already on a back foot because when (you are) chasing 260 plus the team always looks forward to the openers to give them a good start,” she added.

The winner of the second semifinal will face either of England or South Africa in the tournament’s final at Lord’s on July 23.

India have had an impressive record at the County Ground in Derby — the venue for the semifinal, having won all four games played there. The Indian skipper believes the team feels at home playing at that ground.

“I think this is our home ground and we have played four games here and I think that is why the girls feel at home,” Mithali said.

Mithali, who recently became the first ever woman cricketer to score 6,000 ODI runs, scored a century against New Zealand to power her team to a big win.

Talking about her performance, Mithali said, “I think nothing beats playing or representing India at the biggest stage. I am at my peak and I am playing well. I have worked on my game since last year. II am happy that I am still scoring runs for the country.”

First Published: Jul 16, 2017 12:44 IST