Kolkata: After winning four matches on the trot in this world cup, many thought that India would easily make it to the last four in the tournament. But now, the women in blue have faced two consecutive defeats and need to win their remaining game against New Zealand in Derby if they wish to go further ahead into the tournament. The other three teams to have already qualified are England, Australia and South Africa.
The game against Australia saw the Indian eves put up a total of 226 runs on the board. Opener Punam Raut scored a superb century but it was the record-breaking 69 runs from the bat of skipper Mithali Raj that totally hogged the limelight because she become the first in women’s ODI cricket to surpass the 6000-run mark and also the batswoman with the highest amount of runs in the 50-over format.
But if seen from the perspective of the loss, the knock was very slow as she finished on 69 runs which came of a huge 114 balls. Opener Smriti Mandhana played two stunning knocks in the first two games of the tournament but has failed to score big ever some then. India would want the likes of Harmanpreet Kaur, Mithali Raj, Deepti Sharma and the centurion from last match- Punam Raut to go out all guns blazing and fetch a positive result for the team as well as the fans.
In the bowling department, veteran Jhulan Goswami doesn’t seem to have that sting anymore. But against New Zealand, all these boxes need to be ticked if India has to play the semi-finals.
This leaves the match as a virtual quarter-final and it’s expected that both these teams would give it their best shot in a bid to keep alive their chances of winning the biggest prize of them all.
New Zealand, in their last match were beaten by England but with names like Suzie Bates, Rachel Priest, things can turn around pretty quickly.
A tough fight is awaited at the Derby.