When the Indian women’s team opened their World T20 campaign with an emphatic win over Bangladesh, it seemed they would take advantage of the home conditions and follow the form shown in the series win in Australia earlier this year. But a narrow two-run loss to Pakistan followed by a two-wicket defeat to England mean Mithali Raj’s team will now have to beat West Indies in Mohali and hope England do the same against Pakistan for the hosts to sneak into the last four.
“We expect an improved performance from the batting unit and bowling in crunch situations and fielding. Most of the girls were nervous against Pakistan but it did help them and that showed against England. It was good in patches but not in the whole match. We could have done better against England. We will try not to repeat those mistakes in the match against West Indies,” the captain said.
India’s top order failed against Pakistan and England, contributing 76 and 74 runs, respectively. Raj, who scored 42 against Bangladesh and Harmanpreet Kaur, who played a cameo of 40, could manage 20 and 26 against England. “We have seen yesterday’s game. It seems to be a good bating track. The World Cup is something where one player cannot get you the trophy. May be 2-3 games we can win. To win a big event, we need everybody at a certain stage to stand up and deliver. The pressure is of course on the senior players but there are others who are also equally important. Players like Harmanpreet, Veda Krishnamurthy, who has done very well in the past, and Shikha Pandey. These are the players who can soak up the pressure,” added Raj.
Raj was also asked about the pay disparity that exists between men’s and women’s cricket. Raj chose to play down the issue. “As for me personally, I feel the game is the same, the rules are the same. But yes, when you see how many people turn up to see men’s game because they look up at it as an entertainment package. A lot of people come to watch, so the revenue input is more than women’s cricket,” she said.