Mithali Raj wants 'fearless' cricket against Australia

14 July, 2017, 00:30 | Author: Douglas Reid
  • Aussies won't feel pressure, says Lanning

India captain Mithali Raj created cricket history during the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 match against Australia. However, as she also added, she was constantly being reminded by the fans and others before the crucial match against Australia that she was just 34 runs short of becoming the highest scorer in women's ODIs and 42 runs short of the 6,000-mark. She played 164 innings to beat Charlotte.

England recorded a dominant win over New Zealand, dismissing them for 209 after posting another huge score of 285 to start the match. And she decides to pick up the bat.

India: Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smrti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey, Poonam, Nuzhat Parween, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma and Sushma Verma.

Despite messages like these, Mithali's message to her players was stern: that if the team continued to play the way it did against South Africa (lost by 115 runs) and Australia (lost by 8 wickets), India can not make it to the semifinals.

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It was a memorable innings for the two though, Raut (106) recording her second ODI 100, while Raj's 69 made her the highest female ODI runscorer, moving to 6028. "All her early coaches used to come and tell me that of all the girls they had, she was the only one who looked like a cricketer", her father Dorai Raj remembers. She was complemented by the in-form Ellyse Perry, who finished with 60 not out, her fourth successive fifty to go with two wickets.

The biggest achievement of Mitali Rajs's career is her consistency. "If we perform again like this, it will not be enough", Mithali said post-match on Wednesday. The Indian spinners bowled a tight line and length and, backed by their fielders (four run-outs at crucial stages), bundled England out for 246. The slow bowlers have accounted for 28 of the 39 wickets that the Indians have claimed in the six matches. She was honoured to be recognised as one of the six Wisden India Cricketers of the Year for 2015. She scored a 36 off 48, and Beth Mooney was soon to follow her to the dressing as she was run out in an unfortunate mix up. "There's been some very good cricket played, and every game from here on is going to be high- quality", Lanning said.

Late last month, Mithali also became the only batswoman to score 7 consecutive half-centuries in worldwide matches after she slammed 71 against England in the ongoing World Cup.

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