India celebrate after winning their Women’s Cricket World Cup semi final against Australia.(Action Images via Reuters)
India celebrate after winning their Women’s Cricket World Cup semi final against Australia.(Action Images via Reuters)

Women’s Cricket World Cup final: Mithali Raj & Co time their run to perfection

India will face England in the final of the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup and they will be heavily dependent on their skipper Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur.
By Isabelle Westbury
UPDATED ON JUL 23, 2017 09:19 AM IST

Her backlift is a thing of beauty, her strike as clean as they come. Just as Harmanpreet Kaur wound up for each delivery en route to an explosive 171 against a stunned Australia, India are peaking at just the right moment heading into Sunday’s World Cup final.(WWC 2017 Final Live Streaming)

It was a quiet start for Harmanpreet, who managed just 77 runs in five innings. Some players need gentle encouragement, a confidence boost, or a few half-volleys in the nets to get back in form. Others need a rocket.

Skipper Mithali Raj knows better than most what makes her players tick. Mithali opted for the latter, publicly admonishing her batsmen following their loss to Australia in the group stages.

READ | India vs England, Women’s Cricket World Cup: History awaits Mithali Raj & Co.

Harmanpreet Kaur needs to “contribute in a way that it complements the team,” lamented Raj, with the prospect of a group-stage exit looming. Harmanpreet heard, and Harmanpreet did. Her 60 off 90 balls in a must-win tie against New Zealand was the warm-up act. Her 171* off 115 balls in the semifinal against Australia was something quite extraordinary.

Six months ago India’s women didn’t have their own Twitter account. On Thursday, it went into meltdown as the likes of Kapil Dev, Yuvraj Singh and Sachin Tendulkar hailed an “unbelievable knock”.

That they, and many others, were able to witness such an innings in itself is testament to the strides that women’s cricket, and women’s cricket in India, has made in recent years.

READ | Women’s World Cup: How India should guard against being tripped up by England

For India, their path to Lord’s has been a long time coming. Denied a chance to play there versus England in 2014 when rain intervened, only a handful of the current squad have ever had the experience of doing so.

Luckily, those that have, have thrived. Punam Raut, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur, all set to play on Sunday, each scored half-centuries as India toppled England in a 2012 ODI.

Harmanpreet Kaur plays a shot during the ICC Womens World Cup 2017 semifinal cricket match between Australia and India. (AP)
Harmanpreet Kaur plays a shot during the ICC Womens World Cup 2017 semifinal cricket match between Australia and India. (AP)

It was an upset then, and it will be an upset on Sunday, should India prevail. Despite India’s opening match win over England at Derby just weeks ago, England have powered through the tournament since, unbeaten in their last seven matches.

India’s journey, on the other hand, has been more eventful. While inconsistency might be India’s burden, a habit of performing — and upsetting — on the big stage, is fast becoming their trademark.

England know full well the perils of underestimating India. When a newly professional England side surprisingly lost the sole Test to India at Wormsley three years ago, they never quite recovered.

READ | World Cup win will transform women’s cricket in India: Shanta Rangaswamy

That loss paved the way for the eventual resignation of England’s talismanic captain Charlotte Edwards, and Raj, who surpassed Edwards’ record for the highest ODI runs, has a chance to go one better once more.

With a record global television audience of more than 50 million in the group stages and a sell-out final at Lord’s, India’s women cricketers are creating their own legacy.

However, just as former England captain Nasser Hussain quipped, on seeing pictures of Mithali Raj reading his autobiography before the Australia game, that there was “not much in that book about how to win a World Cup semi”, it is to India’s men that Mithali might look for inspiration.

READ | Women’s Cricket World Cup: Heather Knight aiming for ‘perfect’ final vs India

When the men won the World Cup in 1983 and the World T20 in 2007, both victories marked a turning point.

The 1983 win saw the start of a financial investment into the sport no country has matched since, while the 2007 victory led to the launch of the world’s most successful domestic tournament — the IPL.

Following Thursday’s victory, Raj spoke of the impact that Australia’s women’s Big Bash League has had on Harmanpreet.

If India win, their next hero might not need look so far afield, for a true turning point could, and should, pave the way for a women’s IPL, in India’s own back yard. Watch this space.

The author is a sports broadcaster and writer for the BBC, and a former Middlesex Women captain.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Pakistan Cricket Board's managing director Wasim Khan.. File(AP)
Pakistan Cricket Board's managing director Wasim Khan.. File(AP)

PCB CEO Wasim Khan likely to get extension at BOG meeting

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 09:57 PM IST
Although the BOG has a long agenda to deal with one of the main items is giving an extension to Wasim Khan, who has also expressed his interest in continuing as CEO.
Close
India's Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates.
India's Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates.

Ball makers SG to conduct more trials after two day pink ball Test

By Rasesh Mandani, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 10:05 PM IST
India vs England: Ashwin says players will take time to adapt, as BCCI confirms pink ball Tests here to stay
Close
Jonathan Trott.(ECB Media)
Jonathan Trott.(ECB Media)

We would be doing ourselves a disservice by blaming the pitch: Trott

PTI, Ahmedabad
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:56 PM IST
The pitch of the Pink-ball Test here received a lot of flak from some quarters after England were bundled out for 112 and 81 in the two innings during their 10-wicket loss on Thursday.
Close
India's Ravichandran Ashwin throws the ball to a teammate. File(AP)
India's Ravichandran Ashwin throws the ball to a teammate. File(AP)

Stopped thinking about landmarks long back: Ashwin on Kumble's 619 wicket-mark

PTI, Ahmedabad
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:31 PM IST
Ashwin has become the fourth Indian bowler to complete 400 wickets in Test cricket and was asked if surpassing 'Peak 619' could be a reality in coming years.
Close
Indian captain Virat Kohli with teammates during a Test match against England(PTI)
Indian captain Virat Kohli with teammates during a Test match against England(PTI)

Will India lose WTC points if ICC rates Ahmedabad pitch as 'poor'? Explained

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 07:54 PM IST
India vs England: Although it is unlikely that ICC will pass such a judgment on the Ahmedabad pitch used for the third Test but even if they do, it won’t affect India’s points in the World Test Championship (WTC).
Close
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli. File(Getty Images)
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli. File(Getty Images)

COVID-19 spike in Maharashtra: No spectators for 3 Pune ODIs

ANI
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:05 PM IST
There was some doubts that three ODIs will be shifted elsewhere but after a meeting between CM Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) president Vikas Kakatkar, the permission for the games were obtained.
Close
Mumbai captain Shreyas Iyer in action. (Twitter)
Mumbai captain Shreyas Iyer in action. (Twitter)

Vijay Hazare Trophy: Mumbai continue dominant show, beat Rajasthan

PTI, Jaipur
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 07:01 PM IST
  • This was Mumbai's fourth successive win, having earlier defeated Delhi, Maharashtra and Puducherry.
Close
Indian bowler R Ashwin reacts.(PTI)
Indian bowler R Ashwin reacts.(PTI)

Have utmost respect for Yuvi paa: Ashwin on Yuvraj’s tweet

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:41 PM IST
India vs England: India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was asked about the explanation of his recent tweets in the virtual press-conference, and in his response, he said that he did not find anything wrong in Yuvraj's tweet.
Close
Prerak Mankad celebrates his century. (BCCI)
Prerak Mankad celebrates his century. (BCCI)

Vijay Hazare Trophy: Prerak Mankad slams 174 as Saurashtra thrash Chandigarh

PTI, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:39 PM IST
  • Mankad, 26, plundered six sixes and 16 fours in his knock from 130 balls to propel Saurashtra to a massive 388 for 7.
Close
File photo of Australia head coach Justin Langer(REUTERS)
File photo of Australia head coach Justin Langer(REUTERS)

Langer said media leaks on coaching style 'was pretty rough' on his family

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:15 PM IST
Opening up about the media leaks regarding his coaching style, Australia's Justin Langer said the controversy was hard on his family.
Close
Darren Gough feels England will find it tough to come back in the final Test. (Getty Images)
Darren Gough feels England will find it tough to come back in the final Test. (Getty Images)

The mentality of this Indian team is like Australia in the 90s: Darren Gough

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:41 PM IST
  • India vs England: As far as India’s performance goes, Gough sees a lot of the mighty Australia that dominated cricket in the late 90s and 2000s in the current Indian team and its thought process.
Close
NFormer Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar.(Getty Images)
NFormer Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar.(Getty Images)

'Some extreme criticism not really fair,' Gavaskar weighs in on pitch debate

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 10:58 PM IST
India vs England: On being asked about the criticism of the pitch, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said that some of the "extreme criticism" of the pitch is not "really fair"
Close
**EDS: TWITTER IMAGE POSTED BY @pib on MONDAY, FEB. 22., 2021** Ahmedabad: View of worlds largest cricket stadium, the Motera Stadium, ahead of its inauguration on Feb. 24, in Ahmedabad. (PTI Photo)(PTI02_22_2021_000246B)(PTI)
**EDS: TWITTER IMAGE POSTED BY @pib on MONDAY, FEB. 22., 2021** Ahmedabad: View of worlds largest cricket stadium, the Motera Stadium, ahead of its inauguration on Feb. 24, in Ahmedabad. (PTI Photo)(PTI02_22_2021_000246B)(PTI)

Motera may escape ICC 'Red Eye' as 4th Test pitch promises to be batting beauty

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:39 PM IST
India vs England: Also the BCCI bigwigs along with the team management understands the fact that another dust bowl won't augur well for the new venue which is expected to host a lot of important matches during IPL as well as ICC T20 World Cup.
Close
Sachin Tendulkar (L) and Virender Sehwag during last year's Road Safety World Series.(Twitter)
Sachin Tendulkar (L) and Virender Sehwag during last year's Road Safety World Series.(Twitter)

Road Safety World Series: India name star-studded squad, Sachin-Sehwag to open

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:17 PM IST
India Legends will play their first match against Bangladesh Legends on March 5 and Sri Lanka Legends start their campaign against West Indies Legends on March 6.
Close
New Zealand's James Neesham, left, and Martin Guptill celebrate the wicket of Australia's Matthew Wade.(AP)
New Zealand's James Neesham, left, and Martin Guptill celebrate the wicket of Australia's Matthew Wade.(AP)

NZ vs Aus: Third and fourth T20I to be played behind closed doors

ANI, Wellington
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:14 PM IST
The first and second T20I between New Zealand Women (White Ferns) and England Women will also be played behind closed doors following the change to New Zealand's alert levels with an eye on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP