New Zealand claim ICC Women's Championship advantage over India

Kiwis moved two places in the ICC rankings even after losing to Indian eves by 3-2

Dubai, July 9 (IANS) Although India claimed the overall spoils 3-2 in the five-match series, it is New Zealand who moved up two places to joint fourth in the ICC Women's Championship following their 2-1 win in the three Championship games that were played at the start of the series in Bengaluru.

The 'White Ferns' went into the series second from bottom on four points but have now leapfrogged Sri Lanka and England and have risen to fifth, a fraction behind Pakistan. India gained two points but remain rooted to the bottom of the table on five points, marginally below Sri Lanka when net run rates are factored in.

The Women's Championship is a qualifying tournament for the 2017 World Cup and is being participated in by Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies. The top four sides from the Women's Championship will gain automatic qualification for the event proper which is to be staged in England while the bottom four will get a final chance of qualification through the Women's World Cup Qualifier in 2017.

The tournament structure sees each team play each other in one home or away series that will include three One-Day Internationals (ODI) over a two-and-a-half year period. As such, each side is guaranteed at least 21 ODIs.

There was good news for India captain Mithali Raj, who has become only the second batter to total 5,000 runs in the history of women's ODIs. The other to achieve this feat is England's Charlotte Edwards, currently ranked second in the ODI player rankings for batters, who has an aggregate of 5,829 runs.

Mithali achieved several other notable milestones during the series and is now third in the all-time list of women's captains to pass the 2,500 mark and currently stands 2,543 runs behind Australia great Belinda Clark (4,844) and Edwards (3,343).

The 32-year-old Rajasthani now holds the record of scoring the most runs by a woman cricketer on home soil as she overtook Edwards' aggregate of 2,076. Her innings of 81 not out in the final tie was her 42nd half-century (20 as captain) and the right-hander is now second on the all-time list of most fifties in ODIs behind Edwards (54 fifties). In reaching second place, Mithali overcame Australia's Karen Rolton.

"It was a very competitive series against the White Ferns. After losing the second and third ODI matches, we came back very strongly in the fourth and the fifth ODIs to win the series. It was disappointing to lose the Women's Championship points, but this series win gives the team confidence, especially after losing the home series against South Africa last year," Mithali said.

"Our batting has come good at crucial games, our openers gave a solid start which helped the team to chase big totals while our bowling has been good throughout the series. We're really looking forward to the forthcoming T20 games. I hope the girls can take this momentum into those games and play this really competitive Kiwi unit."

In the latest ICC women's ODI rankings for batters, Mithali is unchanged at fourth position. Harmanpreet Kaur dropped two places to seventh while there were gains for Jhulan Goswami (up 17 places to 26th), Thirush Kamini (up 40 places to a career-high 42nd) and Ekta Bisht (up eight places to 85th). But the major mover was Deepti Sharma, who has vaulted a mammoth 91 places to a career high 91st.

In the bowlers rankings, Bisht has risen nine places to a career-high 15th while her teammates Rajeshwari Gayakwad (up 24 to a career high 30th), Kaur (up 18 places to 71st) and Deepti Sharma (up 54 places to a career-high 77th) amongst a number of bowlers to make progressions. The rankings are led by Goswami.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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