It will be nothing short of exceptional if India upstage Australia, feels captain Mithali Raj, who reckons her team will have the “home advantage” in the ICC women’s World Cup semifinal here tomorrow. “We’ve played a lot of the group stage here, four games, so we are aware of the conditions and that is our advantage,” she said ahead of the match. “But Australia is a very good side. They won the last edition of this tournament and they have a lot of players who have played in high-pressure games,” she added.
Mithali has been in fine form with the bat, scoring 356 runs in seven innings and becoming the first woman to surpass 6,000 runs in one-day cricket in the process. She scored 69 in defeat to the Australians earlier in the competition but feels that counts for nothing when India meet the reigning world champions.
“It’s all about how the teams respond to the situation and the conditions on the day,” she said.
“How the players play the situation is important because having said that Derby is our home ground, you need to perform on that day to win. “But for this Indian team, it is going to be a big game and if we can pull out one win, it will be exceptional by the team,” she added.
Australia’s Nicole Bolton, who has scored 337 runs at 56.16 in the tournament thus far, is confident her team can adapt quickly to conditions and book a place in the final to be played at Lord’s. “We’ll make sure we’re really clear what our plans are. On any given day, it’s irrelevant where we play, if we play our best cricket hopefully we’ll win the match,” she said.
“India have played a couple of matches at Derby as well so they’ll be pretty familiar with the conditions as well. We can’t afford to be off our game, as you have seen throughout the tournament, if you have an off day the other team can get a big jump on you,” she added. “We’ll have to do a bit of homework, look at the conditions and see what Derby has to offer because I think India will come out and really take it to us.”