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Women's Cricket

"India can beat Australia again," says Mithali Raj ahead of T20 World Cup semis

Mithali Raj believes that Australia is beatable if the Indian women's cricket team steps up in crucial moments.

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Mithali Raj will be leading India for the 151st time in ODIs on Saturday (BCCI)

By

Pritish Raj

Updated: 22 Feb 2023 3:25 PM GMT

In less than 24 hours, the Indian women's cricket team will take on the dominant Australia in the semi-finals of the Women's T20 World Cup in Newlands, Cape Town.

The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side will face a daunting task of stopping the Australian team, which has been ruthless on its way to the semi-finals and is looking hungry to win its sixth title.

On the other hand, India has been far from their best in this tournament and still won three games to qualify for the semi-finals. India's only loss came against England by 11 runs.

Talking about India's chance at the semi-finals, former captain Mithali Raj told The Bridge, "I believe India can defeat Australia, but for that India needs to step up in the crucial moments."

The claim that India can defeat Australia comes on the back of the fact that India is the only team to beat Australia since March 2021. Despite getting outplayed in the T20I series at home in December 2022, India defeated Australia in one of the matches.

Highlighting India's most important task, Mithali said, "India needs to turn up as its best version. The current form of India is not going to help them against Australia. This Indian team is the only team in the past two years to trouble the Aussies and they can do it again."

India has indeed troubled the Aussies more than any team but India's biggest problem remains losing out the crucial moments.

To put things in context, in the first group match of the Commonwealth Games 2022, India asked Australia to chase 155 in 20 overs. Renuka Singh ran through the Australian top order to leave them at 49/5 after 8 overs.

In such a crunch situation, India leaked runs and allowed Ash Gardener and Grace Harris to build a match-winning partnership, resulting in an Australian win.

India followed the same pattern in the gold medal match while chasing a target of 163 runs. Cruising at 118/3 at one point in time, India lost two crucial wickets in one over and then bundled out for 152 and lost the match by 9 runs.

These are just a few of those instances when India troubled Australia but was unable to finish the final hurdle.

India has played consistently in the past few years and that gives the coaching staff and players a fair idea of what the dominant side is made up of.

Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur addressed the same and said, "We're not expecting it to be easy by any means, whether it's with a bat or the ball, but we certainly know the style of play they've come at us with in the past and they know ours pretty well, too."

When Indians take the field against Australia on Thursday, they should believe that the Southern Stars are beatable.

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