England v India, 2nd women's ODI, Bangalore

Raj praises England fielding

Nishi Narayanan

February 21, 2010

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Mithali Raj launches into one, Australia v India, Super Six, women's World Cup, Sydney, March 14, 2009
Mithali Raj: "One mistake or a boundary would have cost them the match but they fielded really well" © Getty Images
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Mithali Raj, who nearly took the second ODI away from England with her unbeaten 91 in Bangalore, gave credit to the visitors for holding their nerve during the final overs of the chase.

Raj had added 106 with Amita Sharma for the fifth wicket and at one stage India needed 11 off 19 balls with four wickets in hand. Fast bowler Jenny Gunn struck twice in her penultimate over; with her first ball she broke the 45-run stand between Raj and Jhulan Goswami and then with the sixth she had Nooshin Al Khadeer caught at mid-off.

"At one point I thought it would be difficult but during this partnership and the one with Jhulan, I felt we were in the game," Raj said. "But hers and Amita's wicket fell at the wrong time. Even if one of them had been there, we could have pulled off the win."

Raj said her decision to let the tailenders take strike had been forced by England bowlers who managed to keep her to just taking singles. "I must give them credit for holding their nerves when it could have been anybody's match. One mistake or a boundary would have cost them the match but they fielded really well."

England captain Charlotte Edwards said she had been worried as Raj and Sharma whittled down the target but held on to the hope that breaking the stand would expose the Indian tail. "Everybody put their bodies on the line and there was some great bowling from all the bowlers," Edwards said.

"It was a fantastic win for us. I think we've done really well today having lost senior players Sarah Taylor and Nicky Shaw in the morning, and Claire Taylor and Holly Colvin at home. So to win the game in India with a lot of young players in the side is a great effort and something we're really proud of. But we know it's the start of a big series and hopefully we'll nick the next couple and it will be a great series win for us."

Indian left-arm spinners Gouher Sultana and Preeti Dimri took six of the eight wickets to fall but England coach Mark Lane said he was happy with the way the team played against the spinners. "We batted well against the spinners in the first game but didn't finish things off. You have to remember playing Indian spinners on a third-day pitch is a big challenge for anyone. We're not used to conditions quite as dramatic as that. Our girls have adapted well and we're looking forward to the next leg of the tour and performing well down there."

The teams will now head to Visakhapatnam for the next two games - on February 24 and 26 - before heading to Mumbai for the final leg of the tour.

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Staff writer Nishi studied journalism because she didn't want to study at all. As she spent most of the time at j-school stationed in front of the TV watching cricket her placement officer had no choice but to send out a desperate plea to the editor of ESPNcricinfo to hire her. Though some of the senior staff was suspicious at that a diploma in journalism was the worst thing that could happen to ESPNcricinfo and she did nothing to allay them, she continues to log in everyday and do her two bits for cricket.
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