Mumbai: After notching up a convincing 32-run victory over India, England pacer Katherine Brunt said it was Indian skipper Mithali Raj's comments on their bowling attack that charged them up to perform better during their Group A ICC Women's World Cup here on Sunday.
"Mithali's comments fired us up to be honest. We were already up for this game but once those comments were made, we were up even more. I think that gave fuel to the fire, and we did a decent job at the start and Holly (Colvin) showed us what spinner can do when they work hard and tie batters down in the middle there. Everybody has made a contribution and if Mithali was wondering I was the only bowler then it is hard to explain the other 4-5 good bowlers out there today," Brunt said at the post match conference after England beat India by 32 runs.
On Saturday, Indian women's team captain Raj had said, "I think England has got a very good batting line up but I don't think they are very strong in their bowling attack other than Katherine Brunt. They heavily depend on her for the breakthroughs. We played England last year as well, most of our batsmen are comfortable playing their bowlers."
Brunt on Sunday scalped four wickets for 29 runs in her five overs and Indian vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur felt her two wickets in two balls dented India's hopes.
"I think the quick wickets by Katherine Brunt towards the end turned the match. Till the time Niranjana and Amita Sharma was there it seemed we could have caught up with the increasing run-rate. But then those wickets fell and then I felt it we lost it," Kaur, who scored her first century and became the second Indian player to score a century in a World Cup, said.
Chasing 273 to win, India slipped to 29 for three in 7.3 overs but Kaur said the initial breakthrough by the English bowlers did not give them an edge.
"It is not that after we lost three wickets, the game titled in England's favour, we have quite a long batting order and we tried to spend time on the crease and pace our innings till the end," she said.
England captain Charlotte Edwards, who became the highest run scorer in women's cricket with 4901 runs, surpassing Aussie Belinda Clarke's 4,844, said she was pleased with her knock of 109 as she wasn't in the best of form.
"I came into this game not particularly in great form, especially one day cricket. So for me to perform when the team needed me today is probaly one of my best hundreds in terms of the circumstances. Today was about the team. As for the records, I will look at that when I retire. Belinda Clarke is a much better player than me," she said.
The holders are back to winning ways after minnows Sri Lanka caused an upset on Friday and Edwards said: "Today was about character for our team to come out and to play India in India, which was always going to be tough for us.
"I am very proud of the team. Our tournament sort of starts here, and the standards we set today are the ones we want to continue."
England posted 272 on board and Edwards felt the team could have added a few more runs during the later stages of the innings.
"Well after first five overs, I thought 170 might be a good score. But once you start going on the wicket, it is tough early on, but once you get through that then I thought we are probably going to get 290 before I got out. Not disappointed but I thought we could have got a few more runs.
But that was enough for us, so we are pleased," she said. On the importance of toss in the match, she said: "It is definitely hard at 9 in the morning, I can vouch for that. When I went for the coin toss this morning and when it fell down, I saw the bowlers put their heads down, they really wanted to ball first. Sometimes it takes a bit of pressure when you are put into bat, obviously put pressure on India. It looked easier in day night games."