Mithali, Rajeshwari steer India into semi-finals

Mithali Raj’s classy 109 – her first century in more than three years and also the first-ever against a top-three nation – was a perfect lesson on batting

Mithali, Rajeshwari steer India into semi-finals

Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) Committee of Administrators (CoA) on Saturday congratulated the Indian Women Cricket team on registering an emphatic win against New Zealand and booking a semi-final berth in the ongoing ICC Women's Cricket World Cup.

Mithali Raj believes that her team has the ability to play a better game and has demanded improvement. The highlight of her captaincy came in 2005, when at the age of 22, she captained India to their first ever Women's World Cup final, but were eventually beaten by Australia. They lost both their openers inside six overs as Indian pace duo of Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey gave them a fiery start. New Zealand's Debbie Hockley (1,501 runs), England's Janette Brittin (1,299 runs), Charlotte Edwards (1,231 runs) and Belinda Clarke (1,160 runs) are ahead of Mithali who recently achieved this feat.

Victory for either team will see it through, while a tie or a washout would be enough for India to pip the White Ferns, as India is now one point better off.

A lot will depend on captain Mithali and openers Poonam Raut and Smriti Mandhana.

New Zealand struggled from the start of their chase.

Mithali averages 75.72 runs in India's wins, the highest among players with 500-plus runs in wins. The team will be hoping for the left-hander to get back to her blistering ways to set the platform for the innings.

There seems to be no stopping India captain Mithali Raj. Rajeshwari Gayakwad was the wrecker-in-chief with a spell of 5/15.While India progressed to the semi-finals with this win, social media went into a frenzy.

With so much riding on the match, it will be a test of India's character, one where they will have to show the fight they have been lacking in the last two games. "That was what the team required me to do, even (though) as a batter I wouldn't have done that", she offered.

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