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Abhishek Purohit in Mumbai
January 31, 2013
Thirush Kamini, who became the first Indian to make a hundred in a Women's World Cup, said she had "too many things running" in her mind when she walked out to open in her first international match in nearly three years. Despite a slow start, she went on to add 175 for the first wicket with Poonam Raut, setting up a match-winning total of 284 for 6 against West Indies.
Kamini's previous match for India was in February 2010, but she calmed whatever nerves there may have been at the start to allow Raut to take charge, before opening up to overtake her opening partner. Mithali Raj, the India captain, had spoken about India's strong opening combination going into this World Cup, unlike previous editions.
Kamini said she had worked on her strokes during her time away from the national team. She had made an unbeaten 95 during the domestic Challenger Trophy in December 2012. "I was coming back from an injury. I had focused a lot on knocking," Kamini said. "Today, I decided to take it ball by ball. I made a slow start but I knew I could make up later, which I was able to."
It was a perfect start to the tournament for the hosts as they piled on an imposing total after being asked to bat by West Indies, before defending it comfortably. Raj said she was "surprised" at being put in, and would have batted on the flat pitch had she won the toss.
Raj believed chasing such a big total was a difficult task but West Indies captain Merissa Aguillera felt it was her batsmen, and not the bowlers who let the side down. Aguillera said with batsmen such as Stefanie Taylor, Deandra Dottin and Shanel Daley, West Indies should have batted much better than being dismissed for 179. Batting seemed to get slightly difficult in the evening as India's seam bowlers got the ball to move around through the chase, but Aguillera refused to give much weight to that, saying her side should have been able to adapt to the conditions.
Dottin gave India a brief scare as she cracked four powerful sixes on her way to 39 off just 16 deliveries. Her cameo lasted a little more than four overs but it was a "dangerous period", according to Raj. "I am glad she didn't continue further," a relieved Raj said.
The promoted Jhulan Goswami and Harmanpreet Kaur had earlier played cameos of their own as India kicked on to take 109 off the final 13 overs after the big opening stand. Raj said the team had worked on having a slog and decided to send the two batsmen before her so that they could go after the bowling.
With India's bowlers constantly keeping West Indies under pressure, Raj did not feel the fielding had been tested much and warned that tougher contests lay ahead against sides such as England.
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