Mithali Raj cracks ton, tweaker Rajeshwari claims 5-15 as India beat Kiwis to enter semis
Rajeshwari Gayakwad celebrates a Kiwi wicket on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
Riding on left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad’s brilliant five-for and skipper Mithali Raj’s magnificent century, India crushed New Zealand by 186 runs to storm into the semifinals of ICC Women’s World Cup to here on Saturday.
Put into bat, India recovered from an early wobble to score a challenging 265-7 in their final league match, riding on a 132-run stand between Mithali (109) and Harmanpreet Kaur (60) and a quickfire 70 by Veda Krishnamurthy.
India then produced a superb bowling display to dismiss the Kiwis for 79 in just 25.3 overs.
Gayakwad (5-15) was the pick of the bowlers with her five-wicket haul, while Deepti Sharma (2-26) scalped two and Jhulan Goswami (1-14), Shikha Pandey (1-12) and Poonam Yadav (1-12) picked one each respectively.
India skipper Mithali Raj en route her 123-ball 109 against NZ in Derby on Saturday. Pic/PTI
“Extremely happy. For a couple of us, this will be the last World Cup, so our first aim was to enter semi-finals,” said Mithali, who was adjudged the player of the match for her 109.
India will take on Australia in the second semi-finals on July 20 at the same venue — Derby — after finishing third in the league stage with 10 points. Host England will play South Africa in the first semi-finals on July 18 at Bristol.
Social media abuzz
Social media was abuzz with congratulatory messages for the Indian women’s team. Stylish former India batsman VVS Laxman took to Twitter to congratulate Mithali Raj and her team.
“Indian bowlers spin a Web around the NZ batswomen. Gr8 spell from Rajeshwari Gayakwad.Congrats @M_Raj03 & to the entire @BCCIWomen #wwc17,” Laxman wrote. Former player and current member of COA, Diana Edulji also congratulated the team, saying: “What a victory. Great days for women’s cricket. Aache din ayaa hai for women’s cricket. Well done.”