Mithali Raj salutes 'New India' after massive win under pressure against the Kiwis
Skipper Mithali Raj described her side as a 'New India Team' after it coped admirably with the high-pressure environment of a winner-takes-all clash against New Zealand to reach the semi-finals of the ongoing ICC Women's World Cup. Not only did India beat its opponent, it completely outplayed New Zealand - making the most of being put in to bat to post an imposing total of 265-7 before ripping through a shell-shocked White Ferns line-up for an 186-run triumph.
In a match where the loser knew it would be going home, India got important contributions across the board.
Of course, skipper Raj led from the front - as she has done for the past 15 years - with 109 for her sixth ODI century, but just as vital was Harmanpreet Kaur's gritty 60 and Veda Krishnamurthy's destructive 70 from 45 balls.
Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, playing her first game of the competition replacing Ekta Bisht, then took five for 15 to skittle New Zealand for 79, leaving the captain ecstatic at the way it bounced back from the eight-wicket loss to Australia in the previous round of matches.
"The girls realized it was a must-win game for us to qualify for the semis," said Raj, whose team play Australia on Thursday.
"We came back to the ground where we've played four games, so we know how the wicket and the outfield play. The girls wanted to do well today, give their best and they knew it was one game that could get us into the semis."
"I'm extremely happy that the girls made a comeback. I think this is a new India team. In the earlier editions, we've seen one bad day and then we've never made a comeback into the tournament. This is a very good win for the girls and it will give them a real boost and a lot of confidence," she added.
(With ANI Inputs).