Skipper Mithali Raj slammed a century before left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad returned with a five-wicket haul as India crushed New Zealand by 186 runs to storm into the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s World Cup on Saturday.
India will meet Australia in the semi-finals on Thursday at the same venue. Put into bat, India recovered from an early wobble to score a challenging 265/7 in their final league match, riding on a 132-run stand between Mithali (109) and Harmanpreet Kaur (60) and a quickfire 70 by Veda Krishnamurthy. India then produced a superb bowling display to dismiss the Kiwis for 79 in just 25.3 overs.
Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (5/15) was the pick of the bowlers with her five-wicket haul, while Deepti Sharma (2/26) scalped two and Jhulan Goswami (1/14), Shikha Pandey (1/12) and Poonam Yadav (1/12) picked one each respectively.
When the 30th over finished in the Indian innings, they were at 116 for the loss of two wickets. Though they had wickets in hand, the run-rate was painstakingly slow. Raj and Kaur were batting together and slowly moving the scorecard. Both brought up their half-centuries but Kaur fell just after which brought Krishnamurthy to the crease.
She played a stunning knock of 70 runs from 45 balls before being dismissed on the penultimate ball of the innings. Her innings, combined with Raj’s sixth ODI century, took India to 266/7, which was more than a competitive total at the slow surface of Derby.