India’s semifinal entry in Women’s World Cup difficult, but not impossible: Diana Edulji – India have to win at least one out of their two matches to qualify for the final four
India’s Hamanpreet Kaur in action during India’s Women’s World Cup match against England
With four wins in five matches, it may seem that India are already in the semifinal of the eight-team ICC Women’s World Cup in England. Had the Mithali Raj-led team not gone down to South Africa in their last game on Saturday, the third-placed India (with eight points) would have sealed their last four place.
But now, India will have to win at least one of their last two games against tougher opponents – Australia and New Zealand – to stay alive in the tournament. They play the defending champions first up on Wednesday in Bristol.
Former India captain and now a member of BCCI’s Committee of Administrators, Diana Edulji said here on Monday night that India’s entry to the semifinal “is difficult but not impossible”.
“India’s win against table-toppers England in their first game has made the girls realise that they were capable. But, their performance in the later matches is dipping and that is a concern. Hopefully, we should qualify for the semifinal,” Edulji said.
The 61-year-old former left-arm spinner expected Harmanpreet Kaur to come good in the remaining two matches, with India’s last league match being against New Zealand in Derby on Saturday.
Kaur has not yet set the stage on fire in the ongoing tournament, with scores of 24* against England followed by 10, 20 and 0 against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa, respectively.
“The failure of Harmanpreet has not worked well for the team. She is a big-match player. Hope she comes to form in the remaining matches,” Edulji said.
She added that the loss against South Africa has “cost India the momentum”. She suggested: “If we play four spinners – two more spinners instead of two pacers – we could surprise the opponents.”
In saying that the Indian team is shaping up nicely, Edulji said the team had still a long way to go. “Australia and England are far superior as they have a very good domestic set up. They get more exposure, they are far more professional,” said Edulji.
She also appealed to the BCCI to pump in more money towards women’s cricket. “Women’s cricket needs that extra push. Everything is tailor-made for men’s cricket. Women need more tours, more domestic tournaments, more exposure and junior tournaments. The women’s cricket is growing a lot under BCCI. When India does well in the Women’s World Cup, hopefully things will change for the better,” she said.
Edulji looked pleased for the way women’s cricket has evolved, from the early 1970s when they wore skirts and played, travelled in unreserved compartments and even paid their own money to play for India.
She said a women’s IPL was needed. “The Women’s Big Bash League is a big hit, the Women’s Cricket Super League in England is a big hit. We need to have that league in our own game,” Edulji said.