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India face New Zealand in a must-win clash

Jhulan Goswami stresses on the significance of clicking as a unit in a pressure match

India Women’s last game of the league phase against New Zealand Women will be a virtual quarterfinal as the two teams battle for a spot in the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s World Cup, 2017. While India with eight points are at No 4, the White Ferns are at No 5 with seven points and the winner will go through to the next phase.

Speaking to the media ahead of the knock-out game in Derby, pacer Jhulan Goswami emphasised that the team will have to play and click as a unit to win the game. “New Zealand are a quality side and they have played good cricket in this tournament. We are looking forward to a good match. We will plan according to our strengths and try to perform as team in all the departments.”

Reflecting on India’s campaign so far, she said, “The tournament has been a long one, there have been ups and downs. We have to focus on the positives and things that we have done right.”

Speaking about her team, Goswami said, “We have to make a comeback and play good cricket. We have to focus on our process. The girls have been preparing well over the last couple of days. We have had good net sessions. We have played most of our matches here (Derby) so we know wickets and what the conditions are like. We just need one more good day on the field.”

While talking about her own bowling and the way oppositions work to negotiate her threat, Goswami said, “Things are not always going to work out the way you plan them. When you have been playing for over a decade, the opposition is definitely going to plan for you. You plan for the opposition as well. It is important how you bowl, your rhythm, support from the other end, and the fielders. Everything matters. As a senior player, it is important that I take the responsibility, bowl and get wickets. At times when your plans don’t work you have to get back to your basics and begin from the beginning.

“It is important to perform well and fulfil my role consistently. There have been ups and downs for me in the tournament and I have to take responsibility learn from it and start from scratch,” she reiterated.

Speaking about the team’s preparations in the lead up to the tournament with back-to-back series and a packed domestic season, Goswami said, “The kind of preparation we had in the lead up to the World Cup we have never had that before. Most girls have played 15-20 one-dayers, which is helping them in tournament. So, the team is more balanced this time than it has been in earlier years. It is almost the set of girls who have been playing together for a couple of years. They have performed well. So, when you come and play on a stage as big as this, all the experience that you have gathered prior to the tournament well help. You have to enjoy this moment, believe in yourself and go ahead and play good cricket.”

Speaking about the pressure of the do-or-die game against NZ, she concluded “There will always be pressure in an international game. How you handle it and hold your nerve in crucial times is important. The preparation that you have done so far over the last couple of years is for that. All of it will count now. It is not going to be an easy match because they (New Zealand) are also going to come hard at us as they too want to qualify for the semi-final. It is a big match so there will be pressure.” 

BCCI Desk

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Not entirely happy with milestone as we lost: Mithali Raj

The captain says the team need to show improvements in all departments against White Ferns

After a good start to their World Cup, 2017 campaign, losses to South Africa and Australia have left India in a precarious position. They were outplayed by the Southern Stars and will face the White Ferns in a virtual knock-out match as they look to qualify for the semi-finals.

During their game against Australia, Punam Raut scored a century while skipper Mithali Raj posted 69 off 114 balls in an effort to lay a platform to set the opponents a target. En route her knock, she become the highest run-getter in Women’s ODIs and the first to reach 6000 runs.

Reflecting on her journey, Mithali said, “It has been quite a journey. When you have a long career, there are bound to be lots of ups and downs, but I have enjoyed batting, I always did and especially when the team requires me to stand up and get runs. (However) one thing that has always been constant is the burden that I have carried all through my career. Somewhere I feel that if I had few more batters to support me, maybe my game would have been much better than what it is or what it was.

“Even coming into the World Cup considering how the team has been performing in the last two years, I believe that it was the right time for me to elevate my own personal batting standards into the tournament but again it has come back to the same phase where me being in the middle gives a lot of confidence to the other batters and it keeps the dressing room more confident,” she added further.

“I have enjoyed my long career but also at the same time really have to introspect probably because of the responsibility I have not been able to enhance my batting as much as I would want to,” she stated.
After the 157-run stand between Raut and Mithali, India lost wickets in a heap and finished with 226 for seven. Meg Lanning then helped her team scale the 227-run target with ease. Reflecting on the loss, Mithali said, “They are a good side and they came with a plan. When I walked in, I took some time to get those runs initially and Punam Raut did tell me to stay there. I felt that she feels confident when I am around. If not for myself, at least for a batter who is scoring runs, I feel I need to be around. Also, for the fact that because of that partnership maybe we had few more runs in the end.

“Had we lost my wicket, whole responsibility would have been on the middle-order which has not been performing. I knew for a fact that I was taking a lot of time in the middle. I was feeling bad that I am taking so many balls to get those runs, but at the same time, that was what the team required me to do. Probably, as a batter, I wouldn’t have done that but I am happy the way the team has come back scoring 227 runs after losing Smriti (Mandhana) early,” she elaborated.

Discussing the team, Mithali said, “India has always had a problem in crunch matches. If it is a very crucial game, we have usually faltered in that match. That is something that the Indian players in general need to work on. As far as skill is concerned, I still believe that the girls are talented it is just a matter of how well they pull themselves up after a defeat is very important because that’s what makes World Champions,” she stated.

Speaking about the do-or-die game against New Zealand, she said, “It is a decider. It is important that team steps up. If we perform the way we did today, personally I would say that it is not enough against the New Zealand. Somewhere we really have to upgrade the way we batted, especially the bowling unit and the fielding department.”

Discussing the bowling attack, she said, “The bowling unit didn’t seem like they were effective or they were creating some opportunity. It didn’t seem like the wicket was on a slower side they (Australians) just got their shots going. I think the bowlers need to be a little bit more consistent in the areas that they plan to bowl more often the good balls there has to be more consistency in that.”

Stressing on the need to be more consistent, Mithali said that players need to work on personal preparation. With the availability of technology, oppositions have clearer plans than before, so she urged that players work on bettering themselves and countering the plans of opponents.

“Individual milestones are good and give you confidence, you feel nice, but at the end of the day it is a team game. If you don’t win matches nobody would want to be on a losing side and celebrate the milestones. I would say I am happy, (but) very little. I am quite disappointed over the result,” she said assessing the day. 

BCCI Desk

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