IND Vs PAK, ICC Women’s World Cup 2022: India Captain Mithali Raj Wants Top-Order To Take More Responsibility

India started their ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 campaign with a win over Pakistan after special knocks from Pooja Vastrakar, Sneh Rana and Rajeshwari Gayakwad.

Pakistan's Diana Baig celebrates after dismissing Shafali Verma in ICC Women's World Cup 2022.

India captain Mithali Raj expressed concerns about the team’s top-order batting despite starting their campaign with a huge 107-run win over Pakistan in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 in Mount Maunganui on Sunday.

Batting first, India were in a spot of bother with Shafali Verma out for a duck in the third over. Smriti Mandhana (52) and Deepti Sharma (40) put together 92 runs for the second wicket to bring them back on track.

However, a sudden middle-order collapse saw India go down from 96/1 to 114/6 in no time. But that wasn’t the end as Pooja Vastrakar (67) and Sneh Rana (53 not out) put on 122 runs for the seventh wicket to lift India to 244/7.

“I am happy we won the first game but a lot of things to work on. When you lose wickets in the middle order, it does put a lot of pressure. The top-order has to score runs in a big tournament like this,” Raj said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

“When you have all-rounders like Sneh (Rana), Deepti (Sharma) and Pooja (Vastrakar), we extend our batting line up. Hope Pooja would be fine before the next game.” In reply, Pakistan were bowled out for 137 in 43 overs.

Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad did the star turn with the ball, returning with excellent figures of 4/31 after her full quota of 10 overs. Seasoned pacer Jhulan Goswami bowled very well to finish the game with impressive figures of 2/29, while there were also two wickets for Rana (2/27), capping off her fine all-round show.

Pakistan skipper Bismah Maroof admitted her team failed to capitalise on the momentum after they had India in deep trouble. “We bowled well in the middle. We were in the game. We bowled some loose balls and Sneh, as well as Pooja, played well,” Maroof said.

“Credit to them. We bowled some bad balls and gave away easy runs. We were sloppy on the field as well. I think we were doing well and leaked some runs. Didn't capitalize on the momentum. We need to focus more on batting as we didn't play some good shots today,” she added.

Vastrakar was named the Player of the Match for her 59-ball 67. “I'm very happy, my first player of the match award, in my first World Cup game. The plan was to somehow try and get to 200,” Vastrakar said.

“I like to bat in pressure situations, even in domestics, I told the same to Sneh (Rana), to keep the partnership going. The batters told us that the wicket was slow, so the target was 200, but we didn't bat differently,: she added.

Vastrakar picked up an injury but if the physio of the Indian team is concerned, it is not a matter of concern. “The physio said that the injury will heal quickly and I'll be back soon,” Vastrakar said.