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The skipper of the Indian Women’s cricket team, Mithali Raj, said that she would like her team to concentrate on reaching the semi-finals stage at least at the upcoming ICC Women’s World Cup in England.
Set to play in her fourth World Cup, Mithali feels that the onus is on the bowlers to exploit the conditions in England so that the team can progress to the latter stages of the eight-team event.
“If you are able to bowl in the right areas, there should be a bit of movement off the wicket and the weather might play a big role as well, if you are able to adapt,” the Indian skipper 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,” she added.
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India will be seeking to improve on their disappointing showing at the last edition of the Women's World Cup in 2013 – a tournament they were hosting for the third time – when they were knocked out of the group stages, finishing bottom in the group that had Sri Lanka, England, and West Indies as the other sides.
India does have a fair bit momentum heading into the tournament which begins on June 24 with success at the recent quadrangular series which featured South Africa, Ireland, and Zimbabwe. Half-centuries from Mithali and Punam Raut had helped India to a comfortable win over the Proteas in the final.
By far India’s most famous and prolific women cricketer, Mithali Raj has tons of experience under her belt and knows that looking way too ahead can land her team in trouble at a big event like the ICC World Cup as was the case last time around in 2013.
She wants to ensure that the squad takes it one game at a time and wants the players to carry forward the team spirit they showed at the quadrangular series event held in South Africa. However, she admitted that the playing conditions in England are completely different to the one down south and wants the players to begin afresh but with the same hunger and desire.
Mithali sounded confident that the hard work and preparation that the team has been putting in over the past four years will give the desired results and is also expecting herself to lead from the front with some key performances.
It is the third time that England will be hosting the tournament after the 1973 and 1993 editions. Australia are the defending champions and the most successful team in the tournament’s history with six titles under their belt.
The first match of the 2017 Women's World Cup will be held between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Bristol on 24th June. India will begin their crusade in the tournament against England at County Ground, Derby on the same day.As these teams set out to begin their campaign, here is the complete schedule for the tournament.
Download the full schedule here
With a seasoned campaigner like Mithali Raj at the helm, India will be hoping to put up a good performance at the Women’s World Cup.
The Quadrangular series success has given the team some much-needed confidence ahead of the tournament and looks in decent shape to make some good progress at this year’s event.