Mithali credits openers and spinners for win

Smriti Mandhana forged a 144-run opening stand with Punam Raut to get India off to a good start against England. “It’s important you get a good start, it was a brilliant partnership from the openers, so we knew we could post 250-plus," said skipper Mithali Raj.

Openers Punam Raut and Smriti Mandhana put on a 144-run opening stand.   -  GETTY IMAGES

India women’s cricket team skipper Mithali Raj credited the openers Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut for setting up a comfortable 35-run win over England in the ICC World Cup here on Saturday.

Smriti Mandhana struck 90 runs off 72 balls, as India posted 281 for three after being asked to bat.

Mandhana forged a 144-run opening stand with Poonam Raut (86 off 134) before skipper Mithali Raj (71) completed an unprecedented seventh consecutive half century in ODIs.

India then dismissed England for 246 in 47.3 overs to notch up a 35-run win.

“It’s important you get a good start, it was a brilliant partnership from the openers, so we knew we could post 250-plus. I realised the wicket didn’t assist the bowlers but the spinners bowled in the right areas,” Mithali said after the match.

“Both batters were hitting the ball well, getting boundaries every over, so we decided to take the Powerplay while they were set,” she said.

Talking about her injury, player of the match Smriti, said: “It’s not the knee, it’s the hamstring, so should be okay [for the next match].

“I think I enjoyed batting with Punam. We were both at the right ends, facing inswingers, and had a very good partnership, hopefully we can continue going forward."

“The last five and a half months have been tough but the team physios were incredible in making me [fit to] play.”

England skipper Heather Knight blamed the bowlers for its loss against India.

“We thought it would do a bit more but to be honest we didn’t put it in the right areas, didn’t hit our lines and lengths and made it easier for them. We bowled too short and let them get away,” she said.

“We pulled it back in the middle, backed ourselves to chase that score but lost a few too many wickets and struggled. I thought we were in the game throughout, we got a couple of partnerships going, definitely when Fran and Katherine were going we were confident."

“It was a brilliant match, credit to India, they outplayed us. Nice to gave a good game but disappointing to lose.”

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