ICC Women's World Cup 2017: Mithali Raj sets qualification for semi-final as first target
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
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.
"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."
The meeting, which was conducted virtually, welcomed Mongolia and Tajikistan as the 22nd and 23rd members of the Asia region, while Switzerland is Europe's 35th member, with the ICC now comprising 106 members in total, including 94 associates.
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Hasan, since his comeback to the Pakistan team early this year after a spate of injuries, has impressed greatly with the ball but at times his hard-hitting in white ball games has also helped Pakistan.
Iyer started hitting the nets recently but it is understood that he is far from being ready for the 22 July- 18 August tournament.