New Delhi: India skipper Mithali Raj has said that the Indian team will go into the match against West Indies high on confidence following their big win over hosts England in their Women's World Cup tournament opener last Saturday.
India put on 281 against England with the top three of Smriti Mandhana, Punam Raut and Mithali Raj all slamming half-centuries each. It was also the highest score that India have ever put on when batting first and Raj believes that will give her side plenty of confidence for the rest of the tournament.
"We won against the hosts in the World Cup when we have only four or five girls who have played in a World Cup before – for the rest, it was their first World Cup," said India captain Mithali Raj.
"So considering all those factors, it’s great that the team has done well but it’s only the first game.
"We still have six more games in the group stage, so I just hope the girls continue this form. All games are going to be very close and intense. I hope that the team really improves over the coming matches," added Mithali.
Raj was particularly pleased with how her opening batters went about their job against England, as Raut and Mandhana put on 144 before the loss of the first wicket, seeing out over half the team’s overs.
"They (Raut and Mandhana) just played each ball on its merit and kept going to 25 overs. Half of our overs were played by our openers, which is a great stand and we are now looking for similar opening partnerships in the coming games," said the India captain.
"If you have a solid opening partnership then the middle order can carry on from there, which makes it much easier to post 250 and above. That’s always a good score in a game of women’s cricket," Mithali said.
For the West Indies, the losing finalist from the 2013 event and the reigning ICC Women's World Twenty20 champion, it knows it will need to improve its 50-over game if it is to progress beyond the group stage in the tournament.
Hayley Matthews top scored for West Indies with 46 as it was bowled out for 204 in its eight-wicket loss to Australia in Taunton. And batter Chedean Nation knows the West Indies must concentrate on building partnerships in order to post a more competitive total.
"We need to focus on partnerships. We saw the Australians got one big partnership at the top (171 between Beth Mooney and Nicole Bolton) but unfortunately we didn’t capitalise on our partnerships. Hopefully we can do that against India and it can make a difference," said Nation
"We know we have work to do but the girls are working really hard in the nets and it’s just unfortunate we ended up on the losing side against Australia, but we’ll bounce back for sure against India,” she added.
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Nuzhat Parween, Shikha Pandey, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma and Poonam Yadav
West Indies: Stafanie Taylor (captain), Merissa Aguilleira, Reniece Boyce, Shamilia Connell, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Qiana Joseph, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Shakera Selman and Felicia Walters.
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