Mithali Raj has said that her team needs to work in many areas despite a convincing 107-run win over arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday at Mount Maunganui in their Women's World Cup opener.
After Smriti Mandhana (52) and Deepti Sharma (40) took India to 98-1, the women in Blue slumped to 114-6. Mithali Raj (9), Harmanpreet Kaur (5) and Richa Ghosh (1) failed to get going as Pakistan sensed an upset.
However, Pooja Vastrakar (67) and Sneh Rana (53*) put on over 100 runs to revive the Indian innings, taking the team to 244-7. That proved to be more than enough against a relatively weak Pakistan batting unit.
Nevertheless, Mithali Raj, playing her sixth World Cup, is experienced enough to know that losing wickets in clusters could be their undoing in the competition. She said after the game:
"Relieved to have won the first game, but there are a lot of things we have to work on. When you lose wickets like that, it puts pressure. Very important partnership between Pooja and Sneh got us back. Important the top order scores runs; we'll want to address that."
Sneh Rana chipped in with an unbeaten 53 off 48 deliveries, while Pooja Vastrakar contributed 67 to propel India.
Rana, who hails from Dehradun, also picked up two wickets as Pakistan were bowled out for 137. Raj added that having quality all-rounders in the team is a massive advantage, saying:
"When you have allrounders like Sneh, Pooja and Deepti, it strengthens both departments."
India will want their all-rounders to continue their good form going forward in the tournament.
"Pooja (Vastrakar) will definitely recover" - Mithali Raj
Meanwhile, Player of the Match Pooja Vastrakar suffered a leg injury while batting, and didn't take the field in the second innings.
When asked about her fitness, Raj sounded confident about her participation in the next match, saying:
"We have a couple of days; Pooja will definitely recover and be fit for the next game."
India play their next game against hosts New Zealand on March 10 in Hamilton.
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