Bengaluru: Indian women’s cricket team skipper Mithali Raj said on Wednesday that their first aim is to qualify for the semifinals of the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup.
“Our first aim is to qualify for the semifinals, but we will treat all group matches on par with the knockout matches,” Mithali told reporters ahead of the warm-up matches here.
Mithali said the team is confident of performing well in the World Cup as they had a very successful T20 series against Australia and Sri Lanka prior to the tournament.
“We had a very successful T20 series against Australia and Sri Lanka. Getting into the World Cup with these wins, the team is very confident. With the kind of phase the team is in, I don’t see why we shouldn’t be qualifying for semifinals,” she said.
Asked about the toughest opponent in the event, Mithali said Australia even though India had beaten them recently. “Australia will be a tough contender for us, even though we have beaten them recently,” she said.
Lanka captain Shashikala Siriwardena also picked Australia as the toughest contender, saying they were playing good cricket at the moment.
Ireland captain Isobel Joyce felt otherwise, saying New Zealand is the toughest side to beat, even as Australia were in tremendous form.
“For me New Zealand team looks to be a tough side first up. Australia also are playing well, but New Zealand is my pick,” she said.
Bangladesh captain Jahanara Alam rated India as a tough side, but said her team has the ability to make a mark.
“I support India, they are playing good cricket. But I do not see any side as a very tough opposition,” she said.
Asked about the fielding concerns she raised of late, Mithali said fans would get to see a good show in the World Cup as her teammates’ fielding has improved a lot during the Australia series.
“One of the changes we have seen in Australia series is our fielding, which has progressed a lot. This was carried into the One-Dayers as well as in Sri Lanka. I would only say, one will see us as a very good fielding unit in the World Cup.”