Women's World Cup: Kamini helps India begin on winning note

Thirush Kamini’s 146-ball century and Nagarajan Niranjana’s bowling figures of 3/52 gave India a 105-run win over West Indies in the first match of the ICC Women’s World Cup at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.

Chasing a total of 285 runs, the Windies could manage just 179 in 44.3 overs on a batting track and will be left ruing the fact that they put India in to bat first.

The encounter was far from boring and saw excellent efforts in the field from both teams and a total of 44 fours and eight sixes. (India: 29x4, 3x6, WI: 15x4, 5x6)

Although Kamini (100) and Poonam Raut (72) were the stars of Indian innings, it was an overall team effort that contributed to the hosts’ win, and more specifically, their highest total in a World Cup match.

Kamini was India's hero with the bat. ICC/Solaris Images

Kamini was India's hero with the bat. ICC/Solaris Images

Raut and Kamini forged a 175-run opening partnership, with the former quickly settling down after scoring three fours in rapid succession. Both batsmen were scoring hand-in-hand before Poonam was LBW off Shanel Daley’s bowling.

Instead of sending in a specialist batter, India sent on pinch-hitter Jhulan Goswami and the lanky cricketer didn’t disappoint, slamming 36 runs in just 21 balls. Kamini was also freely scoring on the other end, reaching her century with a quick single and following it up with an aggressive celebration.

Kamini also became the first Indian woman cricketer to score a century in a World Cup match.

West Indies made a terrible start to their innings, with Kycia Knight run-out on just the second ball—via a direct hit from Harmanpreet Kaur.

West Indies looked to consolidate after the early blow, but it wasn’t easy to score off Jhulan and Amita Sharma’s tight bowling. The big breakthrough came in the 6th over, when the dangerous Stefanie Taylor was caught behind off Amita’s bowling.

Shemaine Campbelle and Kyshona Knight managed to stick around for a while before a beauty from Nagarajan Niranjana sent Campbelle’s bails flying.

Reeling at 38-3, the Windies team staged a short fight-back as Deandra Dottin started belting India’s bowlers to all parts of the field. The right-arm pacer was also their best bowler (3/32 in four overs) and ended as their best batter too, scoring 39 from just 16 balls.

In the 16th over, she smashed two sixes off Gouher Sultana and did the same to Niranjana in the 19th over. But it was the bowler who had the last laugh. She trapped Dottin LBW after a brilliant change of pace before exulting into a celebration that said how important the wicket was.

The Indian body language completely changed after Dottin’s wicket and Gouher made amends for being expensive early on by bowling Kyshona Knight.

Credit must be given to the West Indies for not giving up too easily. But the game was over when skipper Merrisa Aguilleira (18 from 26 balls) scooped a catch to her counterpart Mithali Raj at mid-off.

Shanel Daley and Shaquana Quintyne fell in quick succession before the tail collapsed.

Earlier in the Indian innings, Kamini could have stayed on for a longer time, but a lapse in concentration led to a run out after Dottin’s direct hit. However, Kamini had done her job and it was up to Kaur to take the innings forward.

She provided most of the entertainment during the Indian innings, scoring a crucial 36 runs (22 balls, 4x4, 2x6) to take India past the 250-run mark. Jhulan and Kaur eventually lost their wickets—both caught by Shakera Selman off Dottin’s bowling, but the damage had already been done.

The Indians next face defending champions England on 3 February while West Indies face Sri Lanka on the same day.

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