ICC Women's World Cup 2022: ‘Poor Batting Let India Down’, Says Mithali Raj After New Zealand Loss

Chasing 261, India were all out for 198 despite Harmanpreet Kaur’s 71 against New Zealand on Thursday in Hamilton.

Amy Satterthwaite was the Play of the Match against India for her useful 75 in Hamilton.

India captain Mithali Raj minced no words in admitting that poor batting let them down in their 62-run defeat against New Zealand in the ICC Women's World Cup 2022 on Thursday. Chasing 261, India managed only 198 in 46.4 overs to slump to their maiden defeat in the tournament.

“Our batting, especially the top and middle-order needs to fire because other teams are posting 250-260,” Raj said at the post-match presentation ceremony. The only positive for India was Harmanpreet Kaur, who fought towards the end with a 63-ball 71.  

“We thought it was chaseable but provided we had the top order going. But back-to-back wickets put a lot of pressure because we didn't have batter who can take it deep,” added Mithali, who herself consumed 56 balls for just 31.

“There was bounce and good carry off the surface but it was not a tough strip to bat on. Their seamers were hitting the right areas with the bounce, but it wasn't unplayable and we could have done better,” she added.

Not only Mithali, opener Yastika Bhatia, who replaced out-of-form Shafali Verma at the top, too played 59 balls for 28 while batting mainstays Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma perished for single digits. Richa Ghosh was out for a first-ball duck.

Mithali had expressed the same concern after the win against Pakistan in India's campaign opener when the lower order made up for the faltering top order. The silver lining for India once again was the bowling effort according to the skipper as they were able to restrict the hosts, who were cruising towards a huge total at one stage, to 260 for 9.

“Our bowlers have done well today and earlier as well. After the early wickets we got, the way they had a partnership I thought they'd get around 270-280. There was bounce and it got slower in the second innings,” she observed.

For home team skipper Sophie Devine, it was a ‘complete performance’. “Really complete performance. We built partnerships throughout, (Amy) Satterthwaite was outstanding, we laid the platform and we knew it was a good score,” Devine said.

She was all praise for the bowlers as they tightened the noose around Indian top order. “Our bowlers were outstanding, didn't give them anything. We have different people putting their hand up in different phases of the game, that's what we want in the World Cup.

“The girls were outstanding today, they had the pressure on them to make sure they stood up, (Frances) Mackay (off spinner) was outstanding as well.  (Lea) Tahuhu in the middle overs was certainly a role we saw her play last year in the UK.”

Devine said that she is spoilt for choice with multiple bowling options.

“We've got so many options now to bowl, our spinners, so it's a really good space. (This World Cup) is an interesting one, the first one was a bad game of cricket but we took a lot of positives. We didn't play our best that day.”