Punam Raut defied some tight bowling from the Australian women to score her 2nd One-Day International century in the ICC Women's World Cup match at Bristol on Wednesday. The 27-year-old Mumbai batter, who opens the innings for India, was involved in a fine 157-run partnership with skipper Mithali Raj for the second wicket as they defied the world champions. Incidentally, this was Punam's 50th One-Day International. She has also played two Tests for India and 35 T20 Internationals.
India were in a little bit of trouble at the beginning of their league match when they lost the prolific Smirti Mandhana early and were bogged down by some very tight bowling by the Australian ladies.
It was Punam who decided to take the initiative as Mithali was struggling initially and kept the scorecard rolling. She used the deft touches on the off-side behind the stumps and lofted shots straight and to the leg-side to keep scoring as the Australians began to show signs of pressure in the field.
With Punam in fine form, Mithali too soon joined the party as they ran the ones and twos and found openings in the Australian fielding regularly.
This was also Punam's highest score in this edition of the Women's World Cup, beating the crucial 86 runs she scored against England in India's opening game as she and Smriti registered a 144-run opening stand to take the game away from the overwhelming favourites England.