MUMBAI (TIP: India maintained their unbeaten record against the West Indies with a thumping 105-run win in the Women’s World Cup opener at the Brabourne Stadium here on Friday.
With this victory, India improved their win-loss record against the Windies in the World Cup to 5-0. This is India’s biggest triumph in the quadrennial event against their Caribbean rivals and overall their third highest in terms of victory by runs. Spurred on by a brilliant maiden century from Chennai girl Thirush Kamini Murugesan and her 175- run opening stand with Poonam Raut (72: 94b, 7x4s), the hosts posted a formidable 284 and bowled out their rivals for 179 in 44.3 overs. India’s total was their highest ever in a World Cup tie, their previous best of 275 coming against New Zealand, in Christchurch, in 2000. A late charge by pinch-hitter Jhulan Goswami (36: 21b, 6x4s) and Harmanpreet Kaur (36: 22b, 4x4s, 2x6s) helped them breach the 250-run barrier.
With her 146- ball knock, ‘player of the match’ Kamini also became the highest Indian scorer in the World Cup, surpassing India skipper Mithali Raj’s 91 scored against the Kiwis in Pochefstroom in the 2005 edition. Kamini’s hundred was studded with 11 fours and a six, her most effective stroke being the scoop. Faced with a huge target, the visitors made a disastrous start when a direct hit from Harmanpreet Kaur found one of the Knight twins, Kycia, short of her crease. ODI ‘Player of the Year’ Stafanie Taylor (9) tried to check the damage but failed, giving an easy catch to Karuna Jain off Amita Sharma, leaving the visitors reeling at 15-2.
Shamaine Campbelle (21) and Kyshona (11) tried to revive the innings but made early exits. The fastest T20 centurion Deandra Dottin (39: 16b, 3x4s, 4x6s) was the only one who added some spice to the dull-looking contest, hitting some long sixes, way beyond the shortened boundary line. One of her sixes, hit above the mid-wicket region, went on to hit the fence – the longest in the match.
The moment things seemed going the West Indies way, a slower delivery from Niranjana Nagarajan deceived Dottin, who in her attempt to flick the ball saw herself being dismissed leg before. Thereafter, Shanel Daley (28) and skipper Merissa Aguilleira (18) too succumbed in face of some good bowling and tight fielding by the Indians.
Niranjana finished with 3-52 in nine overs, the best figures amongst Indians, with Gauher Sultana and Jhulan scalping two wickets apiece. Earlier, the visitors made a huge mistake by opting to field on a pitch which looked a definite belter.