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Mithali Raj bears the 'Brunt' of English ire

A fighting 107 off 109 balls by India batter Harmanpreet Kaur went in vain as the hosts lost to defending champions England by 32 runs in a league match of the ICC Women’s World Cup at the Brabourne Stadium yesterday.


England’s Katherine Brunt (left) celebrates the wicket of India captain Mithali Raj (second from left) at the Brabourne Stadium yesterday.Pic/Atul Kamble.

Ably led by 33-year-old Charlotte Edwards, who scored a 123-ball 109 that also made her the highest run-getter (4847 runs) in ODI cricket, England posted 272-8 in their stipulated 50 overs. In reply, India finished on 240-9. England’s pace spearhead Katherine Brunt was India’s tormentor-in-chief accounting for four wickets and giving away just 29 runs off nine overs.

Brunt later revealed that the English women went into the encounter all fired up, thanks to India skipper Mithali Raj’s pre-match comments criticising the depth in the visitors’ bowling attack. “Mithali’s comment was like adding fuel to fire. We were already up for this game but after those comments, we worked even harder. Everyone has made a contribution and if Mithali was wondering that I was the only bowler, then it’s hard to explain the other four-five of our good bowlers today,” said the 27-year-old.

India lost openers Poonam Raut and Thirush Kamini cheaply for eight and 10 runs respectively. Skipper Raj followed suit scoring just eight and India were reeling at 29-3. A 106-run fourth-wicket partnership between Kaur and Karu Jain (56) initiated an Indian fightback, but the hosts never really looked to dominate the English bowlers.

Earlier, England overcame the early departure of opener Danielle Wyatt (2) thanks to a 100-run partnership between No 3 batter Sarah Taylor (35) and skipper Edwards. Later, Edwards, who overtook Australian Belinda Clarke (4844 runs), said she was happy to score a century at the right time.

“I was not in great form coming into this match. So, to perform when the team needed it most, makes this one of my best hundreds in terms of the circumstances. Today was all about the team. As for the record, I’ll look at that when I retire. Belinda is a much better player than me,” said Edwards.

In other matches...

Meanwhile, in other World Cup matches yesterday, Australia beat South Africa by three wickets, New Zealand got the better of Pakistan by seven wickets and West Indies thumped Sri Lanka by a whopping 209 runs.

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