From underdogs to semifinalists; Indian team’s road to knockouts in WWC 2017

Team India won the do-or-die encounter against the White Ferns to march into the finals.

India women
India Women’s team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Indian eves entered the Women’s World Cup 2017 on a high having won the quadrangular series which included South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ireland. But considering their poor performances in the previous editions of the tournament, experts reckoned only a miracle would bring them through to the knockout stages.

Defying all the odds, Mithali Raj and her troops have made it to the semi-finals of the WWC 2017 and this isn’t a miracle, but a result of sheer hard work, determination and perseverance. Let’s take a look at how this incredible campaign has panned out over the last few weeks.

#1 Hosts shocked!

A stellar batting display from the youngster Smriti Mandhana along with experienced campaigners Punam Raut and Mithali Raj earned India a massive win in their opening game against hosts England. After registering 281 runs batting first, India restricted England to 246 runs in 47.3 overs. It was a clinical all-round performance from the Indian side and this set the tone perfectly for the next few matches to come.

India: 281/3 in 50 overs (Punam Raut 86, Smriti Mandhana 90, Mithali Raj 71)

England: 246 all out in 47.3 overs (Heather Knight 46, Wilson 81, Deepti Sharma 3/47)

#2 Sublime against the West Indies

Mandhana’s spectacular century in India’s second match helped them chase a moderate target of 184 comfortably against the Caribbean ladies. There was barely any fight from Stephanie Taylor and her players and they surrendered quite cheaply to the Indians. The spin trio of Ekta Bisht, Deepti Sharma and Poonam Yadav conceded just 59 runs between them in 30 overs and there was no way West Indies was going to recover from that.

West Indies: 183/8 in 50 overs (Matthews 43, Fletcher 36, Poonam Yadav 2/19)

India: 186/3 in 42.3 overs (Smriti Mandhana 106*, Mithali Raj 46)

#3 A sweet win against the arch rivals

Next up in the group stages were the arch rivals and neighbours Pakistan, who were yet to win a game coming into this match. An impressive bowling display from Pakistan restricted India to just 169 runs in their 50 overs. But Bisht’s incredible and mysterious left-arm spin bowling wrapped their opponents for a paltry 74 runs, registering a 95-run win for the Indians.

India: 169/9 in 50 overs (Punam Raut 47, Sushma Verma 33, Nashra Sidhu 4/26)

Pakistan: 74 all out in 38.1 overs (Sana Mir 29, Ekta Bisht 5/18, Mansi Joshi 2/9)

#4 Four on the trot, top of the table

Another comprehensive win against Sri Lanka meant India had 4 wins on the trot in the World Cup and they also climbed to the top of the table. Deepti Sharma and Mithali Raj’s half-centuries helped the Women in Blue post a decent 232 runs on the board batting first. In reply, Sri Lanka came close but eventually fell short by 16 runs.

India: 232/8 in 50 overs (Deepti Sharma 78, Mithali Raj 55, Sripali 3/28)

Sri Lanka: 216/7 in 50 overs (Siriwardene 37, Manodara 61, Poonam Yadav 2/23)

#5 Counter attack from South Africa

Indian team entered this group stage game against South Africa high on confidence, but South Africa had other ideas. The Protea women posted 273 batting first, thanks to a blazing inning from Lizelle Lee. But the Indian batters induced self-destruction and surrendered cheaply. Skipper Dan Van Niekerk picked up a brilliant 4-fer and was backed well by a brace by Ayabonga Khaka. South Africa won the match by 115 runs.

South Africa: 273/9 in 50 overs (Lizelle Lee 92, Van Niekerk 57, Shikha Pandey 3/40)

India: 158/10 in 46 overs (Deepti Sharma 60, Van Niekerk 4/22)

#6 Clinical Aussies too hot to withstand

Australia showed yet again why they’re called a champion unit and they just eased past the Indians. Batting first, Punam Raut’s century and Mithali Raj’s half-century helped India register 226 runs. Australian top 4 comprising of Nicole Bolton, Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry clobbered the Indian bowlers to all parts and chased the target as though it was a walk in the park. This win left India in a do or die situation with one match left against New Zealand.

India: 226/7 in 50 overs (Punam Raut 106, Mithali Raj 69, Perry 2/37)

Australia: 227/2 in 45.1 overs (Bolton 36, Mooney 45, Lanning 76*, Perry 60*)

#7 Cometh the hour, cometh the champion

There ain’t a better phrase to describe the Indian skipper Mithali Raj, who chipped in with a mind boggling century on the day when it mattered the most. India entered the match against New Zealand as underdogs, but the Kiwis were beaten fair and square courtesy a splendid all-round display from India. The Black Caps were bundled out for 79 runs whilst they were chasing 266 runs. India dismantled their opponents by 186 runs and entered the semi-finals with 5 wins in 7 games.

India: 265/7 in 50 overs (Mithali Raj 109, Harmanpreet Kaur 60, Veda Krishnamurthy 70)

New Zealand: 79 all out (Satterthwaite 26, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 5/15, Deepti Sharma 2/26)

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