A sixth century in ODIs for Mithali Raj and a maiden five-for by left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad was enough to steamroll New Zealand on Saturday and book India's semi-final date with Australia. After beginning the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 on a high, Mithali Raj and Co. lost to South Africa and Australia and had to win Saturday's match at Derby to be able to qualify for the last-four stage of the tournament. An impressive show by captain Mithali (109) and Rajeshwari (5/15) ensured India got what they wanted. And just after the win, captain Mithali termed the victory as "perfect response".
The Indian skipper took to micro-blogging site Twitter and said: "Perfect response from the team after 2 losses to win against New Zealand and seal the semis spot against the Aussies,".
Perfect response from the team after 2 losses to win against New Zealand and seal the semis spot against the Aussies. ???????? pic.twitter.com/BCndsARL92— Mithali Raj (@M_Raj03) July 15, 2017
Put into bat, India recovered from an early wobble to score a challenging 265/7 in their final league match, riding on a 132-run stand between Mithali (109) and Harmanpreet Kaur (60) and a quickfire 70 by Veda Krishnamurthy.
India then produced a superb bowling display to dismiss the Kiwis for 79 in just 25.3 overs.
Left-arm spinner Gayakwad was the pick of the bowlers with her five-wicket haul, while Deepti Sharma (2/26) scalped two as Jhulan Goswami (1/14), Shikha Pandey (1/12) and Poonam Yadav (1/12) picked one each, respectively.
Chasing 266 for a win, New Zealand lost two early wickets with both openers Suzie Bates (1) and Rachel Priest (5) back in the hut in 3 overs.
India will face Australia in the semi-final on July 20 at the County Ground in Derby. India had lost to Australia by 8 wickets in the group match of the ongoing tournament.