Smriti Mandhana scored 90    Getty Images
Smriti Mandhana scored 90 Getty Images

Derby: Indian captain Mithali Raj feels posting totals in excess of 250 is good for the overall development of women’s cricket. Mithali’s team started its campaign in the ICC Women’s World Cup with a resounding 35-run victory over hosts England yesterday. Put into bat, Smriti Mandhana struck a sizzling 90 off 72 balls in a dominating batting display as India posted 281 for three — their best-ever score batting first. Mandhana forged a 144-run opening wicket stand with Punam Raut (86 off 134) before skipper Mithali Raj (71 not out) completed an unprecedented seventh consecutive half century in ODIs. Mithali Raj credits Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Raut for India’s success vs England

“The way both of them started the innings… with the conditions assisting the bowlers and that’s why they (England) elected to field, it didn’t feel like they were playing the World Cup or there was any kind of pressure or nerves on them, they just played on merit and kept going till 25 overs,” Mithali said at the post-match press conference. India then dismissed England for 246 with 15 balls to spare at the County Ground. “Half the overs being played by the openers I think that’s a great opening stand and we look forward for similar opening partnerships in coming games because if you have a solid opening stands your middle-order will come exactly when we are supposed to come and carry on from there, and that makes it much easier to post 250 and above, which is very good for the overall game of women’s cricket.”

Asked about her terrific, record run of form with the bat, she said, “I definitely don’t want to be reminded about it, but it feels nice to get runs under your belt, feels nice to get runs for the team in the World Cup and the team does well, I am hoping that I continue to do that.”

The Decision Review System has been introduced in the women’s game and Mithali was all for it. “DRS is a good edition to the women’s game because if you see most of the dismissals were very close, even the run outs were by few inches, so it makes sense to have DRS.” This was India’s first win over England in five years and they had lost all six previous matches to the hosts.

But this match, according to Mithali, is significant for other reasons too. “This game definitely makes a lot of impact for the Indian team, because posting 280 on the board this is the highest that we have posted batting first and winning against the hosts and with you so many players who are playing their first World Cup…”

The skipper said there was still scope for improvements.

“Definitely there is a lot to improve on in terms of catches and stumpings. Since we have a fielding coach now I hope we can really improve in that department.” PTI AH