Following the 4-wicket defeat against reigning champions England on Wednesday, India captain Mithali Raj and seasoned pacer Jhulan Goswami acknowledged that the consistency of the Indian top-order has not been up to the mark but voiced hope that they would course-correct in the ongoing ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.
England’s championship defence faced a threat as they were on the verge of an early exit following three losses in a row. However, with their first win against India, England kept their hopes for the World Cup campaign alive.
The English side managed to bowl out India for a meagre 134 runs and chased the target down in 31.2 overs with four wickets to spare.
Mithali Raj said after the loss in Mount Manganui, “We definitely didn’t have partnerships up the order, despite getting what we wanted after losing the toss (batting first). When you lose you always think you are short of a few runs... the thought of putting 200+, yes the match would have been difficult for England batters, could have gone either ways.”
Mithali added that batting is a concern they will try to address before the match against unbeaten Australia. “We really need to work very hard,” she added.
Jhulan Goswami later said in the post-match press conference that, “Honestly speaking, at this moment, yes our top order, the way we are thinking, they haven’t fired but I am sure you will have to be positive about that, because they have done really well in the past.”
“…the way we have been thinking, they have not batted, but I am very much hopeful they are going to come back hard in the next game,” Goswami added.
Goswami also said that the team was disappointed at not being able to complete its share of 50 overs while batting.
“Definitely, we had a plan to play 300 balls, but unfortunately we could not play the full 50 overs. Definitely, we had to pay a price for it. Our target was to reach 240 or 250 at par.”
“If we could have reached there, we could have restricted them, but in cricket, some days it happens, you plan very well, but some things don’t work in your way,” the right-arm pacer explained.
“You have to understand you are playing against one of the best sides (in) England, they have done really well in the past few years. Unfortunately today, we could not execute our plan properly,” she admitted.
On achieving the individual milestone of picking up 250 ODI wickets, Goswami said, “When I started, I never thought about it, I just wanted to go there and express myself all the time.”
“Some days you know things are going in my way, some days is really tough to - where you want to deliver, the things does not happen - but this is a never ending learning process.”
“You keep playing and keep going to learn each and every time but yeah, I’m happy that I’m able to take 250 wickets, but never thought about that in my life.”
India, who have now suffered two losses in the marquee tournament, and will play table-toppers Australia on March 19 at Auckland.
She added that in a tournament like World Cup it will not always be possible to maintain a constant upward graph, but sounded hopeful that they will fire soon. The veteran pacer also brushed aside there are worries regarding Mithali Raj’s low scores, adding that she just needs one knock to get back to groove.
You can watch the press conference here.
(With PTI inputs)