Mithali Raj Steers India To Victory Over Pakistan
India Women 195-4 (Raj 103no) beat
Pakistan Women 192-7 by six wickets
Women's World Cup play-off, Cuttack
Pakistan Women produced their best batting performance of the 2013 Women's World Cup but still ended their tournament without a win as Mithali Raj's unbeaten century handed India a six-wicket victory in the seventh/eighth place play-off in Cuttack.
Pakistan made 192 for seven as they batted through 50 overs for the first time in the tournament and then had India in a spot of bother before Raj's 103 in 141 balls guided them home with four overs to spare.
Nain Abidi (58) and Nida Dar (68 not out) had been the mainstays in Pakistan's innings while Nagarajan Niranjana returned three for 35.
Jhulan Goswami finished her World Cup strongly, dismissing Nahida Khan for two and Abidi to pick up two for 17 and the early run out of Sidra Ameen (12) by Reema Malhotra left Pakistan struggling on 28 for two.
While Abidi faced 113 balls and held the innings together at one end, she lost partners Bismah Maroof (15) and Asmavia Iqbal (0) to Niranjana but along with Dar, she helped Pakistan recover from 60 for four.
The pair put on 80 together, Dar facing 83 balls and hitting seven fours. Qanita Jalil (18) and Sana Mir (10) added some late runs as Pakistan got to the brink of 200. Nevertheless, their score of 192 was their best effort in a World Cup and their fifth highest of all time.
They then ensured that the run chase would not be a simple task for the hosts, who lost openers Poonam Raut (4) and Thirush Kamini (26) cheaply, bringing Raj to the crease in just the third over.
She struck up a 49-run partnership with Harmanpreet Kaur, who made 16 in 30 balls but her run out was followed by Dar bowling Sulakshana Naik for three to leave India wobbling on 108 for four.
Cometh the hour, cometh the woman, and Raj promptly dominated another substantial partnership with Malhotra, whose share in the decisive fifth-wicket stand of 187 was 25 - although a highly valuable knock in the circumstances.
In her match-winning innings - and fourth ODI century of her career - Raj stroked 13 fours and a six as India at least ended what has been a disappointing tournament for them, with a deserved victory.
© Cricket World 2013
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