Poonam’s efforts completely changed the game: Mithali Raj on Women’s T20 WC opener


Dubai: After witnessing India’s tremendous grit and fight against Australia in the opening match of the Women’s T20 World Cup, Mithali Raj hailed spinner Poonam Yadav’s efforts and called her a gamechanger.

India defended a total of 132 against the defending champions Australia and went on to register a win by 17 runs. Poonam Yadav went on to take four wickets, and she took the crucial wickets of Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy.

‘That opening match definitely lived up to the hype of the tournament, which has been building so much over the past few weeks,” “International Cricket Council quoted Raj as saying.

Poonam Yadav’s spell was the turning point. She’s been one of the main spinners for India for quite some time now. Although we recovered our innings through Deepti Sharma and her partnership with Jemimah Rodrigues, it was Poonam’s flurry of wickets against Australia’s megastars, which completely changed the game,” she added.

Australia was going strong at one stage with Healy dispatching Indian bowlers for regular boundaries. But Poonam Yadav turned the tide of the match, and in the end, took India to a comfortable victory.

While batting, India was also in a troublesome position after being reduced to 47/3 in the sixth over. But Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma fought it out to take the team’s score past the 130-run mark.

Deepti remained unbeaten on 49 runs.

“It was a whirlwind. There were so many ups and downs. It was a great start to the tournament not only because India beat the defending champions on home soil, but also because of how the game progressed altogether,” Raj said.

At no point could you say it was going in one side’s favour. First we saw our early wickets fall, then we recovered and Australia had to chase 132 before their middle-order collapsed,” she added.

India and Australia both took the game their own way at different points which made it fascinating for spectators to watch.

While batting, the 16-year-old Shafali Verma impressed one and all as she played a quickfire knock of 29 runs, hitting five fours and one six.

“Shafali Verma impressed me too on her debut. She gave India’s middle order the cushioning they needed to regain momentum,” Raj said.

“Verma has stuck with stroke play that she demonstrated in the tri-series and I think she should be given that free range in the first six overs because when you’re playing a top team, the runs in the first six overs are so important,” she added.

India will now take on Bangladesh in their next match of the tournament on Monday, February 24. (ANI)