ICC Women's World Cup 2017: Mithali Raj sets qualification for semi-final as first target

PTI, Jun, 22 2017

London: Indian cricket team captain Mithali Raj says reaching the semi-final will be their first target in the ICC Women's World Cup starting on Saturday.

Mithali, who led India for the 100th time in her ODI career in May, struck a century four years ago in the seventh-place play-off to salvage something for India in what was a disappointing campaign.

However, after a record-breaking feat in a quadrangular series recently, she is optimistic about India's chances in the mega event.

Mithali Raj top-scored for India with an 85-ball 64. Image courtesy: ICC official Twitter account

File image of Mithali Raj.  Twitter/@ICC

"The Quadrangular Series was very good preparation in terms of gaining confidence and sorting out the composition of the team, but we can't really depend on past glory," she said.

"Our first target will be to reach the semi-finals, but for that you need to be able to play good cricket throughout the tournament and have good momentum," Raj was quoted as saying in the ICC's official website.

Mithali struck her sixth successive half-century in the final of the quadrangular series as India beat South Africa by eight wickets.

The tournament also saw a record opening stand of 320 by Deepti Sharma and Punam Raut against Ireland, the first partnership of more than 300 runs in women's cricket.

"The conditions there (South Africa) were completely different to what we are facing here in England. We can take a lot of confidence, but we need to start fresh again in the World Cup.

"The girls, coming from Indian and South African tracks, are adapting to English conditions — it will take a while, but the girls are getting used to it."

With the batters seemingly in very good form for India, the team's hopes of progressing to the semi-finals in England may come down to the strength of their bowling department.

Leading the attack, once again, will be the 34-year-old Jhulan Goswami, the leading wicket taker in women's ODI cricket with 185 scalps in 155 matches.

"The World Cup is a big stage, and that's four years of preparation. We're looking forward to it, it's going to be my fourth World Cup, so I'm looking forward to some good games," said Mithali.

"For me, the Quadrangular Series was fantastic. We played very convincingly and as a team we performed really well. We're looking to produce the same kind of performance in the World Cup.

"It will be my sixth or seventh time I've played in England; I love to play here, the culture of cricket is totally different."

Published Date: Jun 22, 2017 | Updated Date: Jun 22, 2017

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4493 125
2 South Africa 3395 110
3 England 4097 105
4 Australia 3087 100
5 New Zealand 3114 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 5957 119
2 Australia 5505 117
3 India 4579 114
4 England 5645 113
5 New Zealand 5123 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 New Zealand 1625 125
2 England 1962 123
3 Pakistan 2417 121
4 West Indies 2222 117
5 India 2183 115