Friday, September 30, 2022

ICC: Raj happy with must-win Bangladesh victory

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India’s Mithali Raj was happy with a good all-round showing against Bangladesh despite her own inconsistent form with the bat continuing.

Raj fell for a first-ball duck as Ritu Moni took back-to-back wickets to reduce India to 74 for three before a half-century for Yastika Bhatia led a recovery to 229 for seven.

Bangladesh were hampered by early wickets that left them struggling on 35 for five and Sneh Rana took four for 30 to eventually bowl the Tigresses out 110 runs short of their target.

“It was a game we had to win, so we are happy,” said Raj, who made 68 against Australia but has also recorded four single-figure scores in her six innings at the tournament to date.

“I remember the last time I was inconsistent was in 2012 so it does happen but we look forward to the next game.

“We had a good opening partnership and on a wicket like this, it’s always difficult for incoming batters to get runs.

“It was a very good innings by Yastika and the partnership at the end between [Pooja] Vastrakar and Rana was crucial for us to get 230, which was a good score after losing those three wickets back-to-back.

“Having all-rounders helps us bat deep and in a tournament like this you want to have players in the lower order who can contribute, which is something we’ve worked on.

“For a long period, we’ve always banked on our spinners and we have quality spinners. Today’s wicket assisted the spinners, giving them the turn.

“I wouldn’t say we are spin dominant, we have good pacers, but it depends on the opposition and pitch you get.”

Despite letting India get away from being 176 for six with 6.5 overs remaining, Bangladesh captain Nigar Sultana was pleased with her side’s effort having been put in to bowl.

Nigar took up the gloves again with Shamima Sultana dropped, taking a catch and a stumping, as Ritu Moni produced the best figures of the innings with three for 37.

Salma Khatun was Bangladesh’s top-scorer with 32 from 35 balls but departed with Bangladesh on 75 for six just past the halfway mark of the innings and the Tigresses were unable to recover.

Nigar said: “The bowlers did wonderfully today, as they have done in the last couple of matches. We put India under pressure and restricted them to a good total.

“Shamima wasn’t playing so I had to do the keeping, it makes my job as captain much easier behind the stumps.

“Controlling the nerves and the situation of the game, that’s where we need to improve. We couldn’t make partnerships in this or the last match, which has cost us.

“Salma [Khatun] played really well and our bowlers were wonderful so there are a lot of positives to take from here.”

Bangladesh now face two teams they are yet to play in ODIs, starting with the already-qualified Australia before rounding out the group stages by taking on holders England.

India have kept their hopes of qualification alive and sit in the third semi-final spot on six points but will need to beat South Africa to have any chance of victory, with England and the West Indies also able to reach eight points.

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