Mithali Raj keen to avoid Qualifiers for World Cup 2021

Wellington: India ODI skipper Mithali Raj is keen to avoid playing in the Qualifiers and with her side’s victory over New Zealand in the recent away ODI series, the chances for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017 finalists has bolstered.

The coming month will see the focus on the championship like never before. India is slated to play England starting on February 22, which will play a crucial role in the upper tiers of the points table as New Zealand and four other top teams will get a direct entry to the premier event.

“Coming to New Zealand, we did not have too many players who had the experience of the conditions with only Jhulan (Goswami) and me having toured here before. So winning two games here has given us a lot of confidence,” Mithali said.

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“In the first game, our spinners dominated and the opening pair gave a great start. In the second game, the spinners continued the momentum and though we had a collapse, the partnership between Smriti and me helped.

Losing the third game, we have come down to number three in the rankings table but I am happy that India is in the top four. The last time we played the Qualifiers, but this time we want to have direct qualification for 2021. With series against England and the West Indies coming up, we will definitely look to get maximum points,” she said.

New Zealand remain ahead of India in the second place, but their skipper Amy Satterthwaite feels the points table may not be an accurate reflection because a lot of matches are still to be played.

New Zealand and India have played 12 matches each while the other teams have played nine each so far.

“Obviously we want to win every game we play and we want to win every series, but it is also a good opportunity to learn what areas we need to continue to develop. We have our first real winter at home in 3-4 years coming up which gives us a great opportunity to develop our skill sets, so playing a quality side like India helps to highlight those areas both individually and as a team,” Satterthwaite said.

“The points table is a hard one to read into much because some teams haven’t played as many games as us. Sitting in second is a great place to be, but as other teams play more games, that may change. We have to keep focusing on what we can control and looking to win more games moving forward. If we do that, then our place on the table will take care of itself,” she said.

India will host England for three-match ODI series on February 22, 25 and 28 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.


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