Women's World Cup: Mandhana, Mithali guide India to comfortable win

TAUNTON (UK), 30th June: Riding on a strong batting display by opener Smriti Mandhana and skipper Mithali Raj, India sealed a comfortable seven-wicket victory over West Indies in a group match of the ICC Women's World Cup at the County Ground here on Thursday. Chasing a target of 184 runs, India achieved it with 45 balls remaining.

This is the second consecutive win for India in this tournament. They had defeated hosts and strong title contenders England by 35 runs on the opening day. The West Indies, on the other hand, suffered back to back defeats. They had lost their opening tie to Australia. The Indian run chase was spearheaded by Mandhana who batted through the innings, posting an unbeaten 106 runs. Her 108-ball innings was studded with 13 boundaries and two sixes.

Raj posted a patient 46 off 88 balls with three hits to the fence. The Indian innings was off to a poor start with West Indies pacer Shamilia Connell sending back opener Poonam Raut in the very first over. Deepti Sharma also did not last long as she was bowled by experienced off-spinner Stafanie Taylor.

However, Mandhana and Raj got together to put up a 108-run partnership to help India take the upper hand. Raj was caught at mid-off as she failed to clear the circle off a delivery from West Indies off-spinner Hayley Matthews.

But Mona Meshram (18 not out) played a steady innings and gave good support to Mandhana to help India reach the target. Earlier, a disciplined effort saw India restrict the West Indies to 183/8.

Put in to bat, the Caribbean team got off to a slow start with opener Hayley Matthews (43) and Felicia Walters (9) putting on 29 runs but ran out of ideas once the spinners were employed by India skipper Mithali Raj.

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