Women’s ODI World Cup: Fielders did not support bowlers when needed, feels Mithali Raj after defeat against Australia

India captain Mithali Raj has taken a day off for the bowling department in her ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup match against Australia at Eden Park.

After making 277/7 on a fresh pitch with short square and straight dimensions, India found it difficult to defend a total against an unbeaten Aussies.

The bowlers provided a lot of width, which meant that Australia’s batting line-up, particularly wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy and captain Meg Lanning, made the most of it, scoring 72 and 97 respectively.

Though India took the defense in the final over, they could not cross the line as Beth Mooney hit two boundaries and played a brace to complete the six-wicket win.

“When you lose you always feel that you are 10-15 runs short. Maybe the way the Aussies started, they were ahead and the fielders didn’t support the bowlers when needed. It was one of those days when the bowling unit didn’t do well but they have been in the last four-five matches,” said Mithali at the post-match presentation ceremony.

India, fourth on the points table with two wins and three losses, now need wins against Bangladesh and South Africa in Hamilton and Christchurch respectively in the coming week to make a strong case for reaching the semi-finals.

“It has to do with the girls playing in the league in Australia and with that comes a lot of risk of playing with the best players. Experience helps.

“Today the batting went well but the bowling took a hit. The next two matches will be very important and we would like to do well in all departments. We got ourselves into that position but the next two games are important for us.”

Mithali, who scored a top 68, thanked the Indian supporters and praised veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami for reaching the milestone of 200 ODIs. During her innings with three fours and a six on the field, Mithali equaled the record for most fifty-plus scores by a batsman in the Women’s Cricket World Cup, with former New Zealand cricketer Debbie Hockley at 12.

“Thank you to all the people, Indians, who came and supported us today. We get that experience over the years. Incredible achievement for a fast bowler to play more than 200 matches. It takes a lot of discipline, she is definitely a role model for many young girls in India.”

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