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Batting heroics, Gayakwad five-for seal India's semi-final berth

17 Juillet 2017

On paper the New Zealand side was full of them; in reality India produced four. For Mithali and Jhulan Goswami, two of the most experienced players in the squad, this might be their last World Cup.

Mithali Raj has always been the precocious achiever - she was passionate about the Indian dance style of Bharatnatyam uncommon for girls her age, but then she took on something that was even more uncommon - cricket.

No other Indian batswoman is in the top-10.The Indian opening batswoman Punam Raut is at no. 19 and then Smriti Mandhana at no. 29.

A magnificent display of her batting prowess pushed her points to 774, five short of Australian skipper Lanning (779), who still sits atop comfortably. "II am happy that I am still scoring runs for the country".

India skipper Mithali Raj en route her 123-ball 109 against NZ in Derby on Saturday.

Cricket may have happened by chance after a brush with dance, but it is not for nothing that Raj has been ruling the roost for long. That's how rare this magical assault was. For the third wicket with Kaur, Raj added 132 runs while she put on 108 runs for the fifth wicket with Krishnamurthy.

As if following a script, the first ball delivered by Kerr was caressed over extra-cover - Krishnamurthy dancing down the track, making a bit of room and hitting with the spin. "However, destiny seemed to have had other plans for her", father Dorai Raj said, recalling those early years when she would practice her steps for the stage. Deepti was the first to strike when, after a dry spell of not many boundaries, Martin hit her straight to Kaur at midwicket.

And when the assault started from the 42nd over, she just sat back and enjoyed the show.

Sune Luus was in good form, finishing with figures of 10-0-67-5, while Marizanne Kapp (two for 26), Dane van Niekerk (two for 41) also chipped in. More importantly, she was ensuring that the momentum and the intensity never flagged - the Kiwi bowlers had no measure of relief and were running ragged. India needed to win the match to progress to the semi-finals and did so easily but it was Mithali that provided stability to the Indian innings after they lost their openers early. Cricket may be the drug of the masses in India, but the passion is immensely sexist. Otherwise, Mithali Raj's team is the sure victor. New Zealand captain Suzie Bates departed in the second over, caught by Krishnamurthy as Shikha Pandey struck with her first delivery.

"It has often gone under the radar. but the way the women's game is going, there is more media coverage and critiquing of how you go about things".

Batting heroics, Gayakwad five-for seal India's semi-final berth