India’s women cricketers were a shattered lot after receiving a sound drubbing at the hands of Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium on Tuesday. Minutes after her team’s exit from the ICC World Cup, skipper Mithali Raj said she was not in a position to look ahead and comment on the match against Pakistan at Cuttack on Thursday.
With India needing to make five runs an over for 50 overs to enter the Super Six, Jhulan Goswami had said at the break that India had strong enough a batting line-up to overcome the daunting task of even achieving the victory target of 283, but most the batters looked a nervous wreck. Sri Lanka’s big total had shocked them.
Mithali had perhaps been a shade too confident of the ability of her left-arm spinners, Goher Sultana and Ekta Bisht, to restrict Sri Lanka. As it transpired, Shashikala Siriwardene’s team turned out to be ruthless in execution.
A morose-looking Mithali said: “Honestly I did not expect Sri Lanka to make 282, with the kind of bowling attack we had. When you chase a big total it is very important to have a very good start. We lost a quick wicket and then, as we built a bit of a partnership, we intended to go big.
“After we lost Harmanpreet Kaur, that’s somewhere I thought the match was going to be tight. Our first intention was to chase 283, but as we lost wickets it definitely played in the minds of the batters who were going in. All of them were aware of the 251 target,” said Mithali.
India’s top wicket-taker Goswami had a poor opening spell and Sri Lanka gained a lot.
“The Sri Lankans scored most of their runs square of the wicket. That shows where you are bowling,” said the India skipper. “All the bowlers were off-colour today. I guess we can expect one or two to be off-colour but not all of them.
“I won’t say it was complacency. I had a lot of faith in the bowlers. It is not that one player performs each and every day. Jhulan had done well against the West Indies and England. But I did not expect the other bowlers to have an off-day too.”
Mithali said there were positives to look at.
“Thirush Kamini, Poonam Raut, Harmanpreet Kaur and Karu Jain, all played well. It is very disappointing to be out of the tournament as the host team. But I am sure in the future these girls will perform well,” she said.
Keywords: Women’s cricket World Cup