Mithali Raj proud of Poonam Yadav and Ekta Bisht for holding their nerves at crucial times

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Mithali Raj proud of Poonam Yadav and Ekta Bisht for holding their nerves at crucial times

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SportsCafe Desk

04/07/2018

Indian women’s team captain Mithali Raj, who recently became the most capped woman ODI player of all time, lauded tail-enders Poonam Yadav and Ekta Bisht for guiding the hosts to a victory today. Indian Opener Smriti Mandhana admitted the team was nervous ahead of the match versus England.

The ICC Women’s World Cup final of 2017 was indeed a thrilling affair and a record 26,500 people watched the finals live at Lord's in London. The match ended as the Indian team’s lower order lost their last seven wickets for 28 runs to end the tournament as runner-ups. Nevertheless, it was a joyous day for women’s cricket that will forever be etched in the history of the game.

Come 2018, the Indian women faced familiar foes in the form of the English women’s team in Nagpur in the first ODI match of the series and they looked to be on their way to comfortable victory thanks to a fine display from the in-form opener Smriti Mandhana. But post her dismissal, the hosts lost lost six wickets for 24 runs which threatened a repeat of their loss at Lord’s last year.

But tail-enders Poonam Yadav (7*)  and Ekta Bisht (7*) put up a partnership of 18-runs for the last wicket to narrowly guide the hosts to a victory in the opening match of the series. Raj lauded the pair for their effort down the order in her post-match interview.

"Quite proud of Poonam and Ekta Bisht, who held their nerves at crucial times and got us through. It was an eye-opener for all of us to know that though we have a top order in place we require a lower middle-order and the tail to contribute in such games where we get a start but somewhere in the middle overs if we lose back-to-back wickets it is important that the bowlers score runs," said Raj, reported Cricbuzz.

Poonam Yadav's 4 for 30, which triggered a top-order collapse, helped the Indians de-stabilise the top-order of the England team and tilt the match in their favor. Ekta Bisht also chipped in with figures of 3 for 49 to take out the middle order.

"Poonam bowled really well; got us the back into the game.At one point when the England openers were going really well, she got us those three wickets in a couple of overs, and that put the brakes on the runs," said Raj, who also featured in her 192nd ODI to become the most-capped player in the format.

India's chase began with a bang all due to opener Mandhana Smriti's patient 86 at the top of the order. She was happy with her performance although she admitted the team was slightly nervous ahead of the game.

"Everyone was nervous today. Generally, Mithali di is very calm, but today even she was a bit nervous, we were all remembering the World Cup final. The way Poonam and Ekta di finished it was brilliant," said Mandhana. 

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