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Match against Zimbabwe huge opportunity for India to overcome opening blues: Mithali Raj

Match against Zimbabwe huge opportunity for India to overcome opening blues: Mithali Raj

Melbourne, Nov 6 (SocialNews.XYZ) With South Africa's 13-run loss to the Netherlands paving the way for India's automatic qualification to the ICC T20 World Cup semifinal stage on Sunday, veteran women's cricketer Mithali Raj has said Rohit Sharma's side should still not take Zimbabwe lightly in their last Super 12 game at the MCG.

India, on six points, were looking forward to their game against Zimbabwe later on Sunday to qualify for the last-four when the Dutch created the biggest upset of the tournament, defeating the Proteas and eliminating them from the T20 World Cup, thus paving the way for Sharma's side to automatically enter the semifinal.


But Mithali, India's former women's team captain, said irrespective of the side securing the last-four berth, they should be wary of smaller teams like Zimbabwe.

"They (India) cannot take the game against Zimbabwe lightly. We know what they did against Pakistan (won by one run) and they had a very close game against Bangladesh, going down to the final ball twice," said Mithali in her column for ICC.

"I really feel India is the favourite when it comes to playing against Zimbabwe but then when you're playing the smaller teams, you need to be mindful to keep the intensity through the game. If at any time the intensity drops the opposition will start to get the better of you and T20 is so fast-paced, they there few chances for recovery," opined Mithali, who retired earlier this year following more than two decades of international cricket.

"You still have to play your game, be your best on every match day. I think India has been good in the power-plays with Arshdeep (Singh) picking up the wickets barring the game against Bangladesh where the Bangladesh batters really got the measure of our bowling especially in the powerplay," said Mithali.

She said the game against Zimbabwe was an opportunity for players who had not yet come to the party to find rhythm as the business end of the tournament nears.

"That match (against Zimbabwe) will also be important for those players to (get) back into form who haven't started firing as yet in this World Cup. Their form is key for India when they get into the semifinals. You want all the loose ends settled before the semis."

Among the areas of improvement she pointed out was the patchy form of openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and their inability to sew a decent partnership.

"The opening pair needs to fire together because we have not yet had an ideal opening partnership, we've lost wickets in the powerplay. I have been enjoying watching Rohit captain across this World Cup; I think some of his decisions have been brilliant. Some might argue that he could have done this better or that, but every captain makes decisions at the spur of the moment, there are a lot of other factors the captain is considering at that time.

"The most important thing is that you need to rally your team to achieve that goal and I think he is doing a fine job of that, hiccups will happen here and there, especially in a tournament like the World Cup. You will probably lose a game, but as captain it is important to get your team to refocus on the goal at hand. Even though it has been five months since I retired from cricket, I still have the natural emotions towards the sport from being a player," she added.

Source: IANS

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Match against Zimbabwe huge opportunity for India to overcome opening blues: Mithali Raj

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