MOUNT MAUNGANUI: Taking charge after the Indian top order collapsed, all-rounders Pooja Vastrakar and Sneha Rana‘s aim was to rotate strike till the 45th over before going for the big shots in their Women’s World Cup match against arch-rivals Pakistan here on Sunday.
India thrashed Pakistan by 107 runs to begin their campaign with a win. Vastrakar (67) and Rana (53 not out) stitched a 122-run partnership to take India to a respectable 244 for 7. India then dismissed Pakistan for 137 in 43 overs.
“Actually, our top order collapsed so we decided to take on the charge and we decided to change and rotate the strike. The pitch was slow, so our plan was to focus on singles and doubles at the start,” Rana said at the post-match press conference.
“We lost early wickets. We were the the last batting pair and afterwards, we had only bowlers. So, we planned to play basic cricket till 45th over and then accelerate in last five overs,” Vastrakar added.
Vastrakar also said that her injury was not a serious one but she didn’t want to risk aggravating it.
“My leg is better, there were normal calf cramps. Didn’t want to risk aggravating by bowling,” she said.
The Indian spinners, who had been inconsistent in the series against New Zealand, bowled out Pakistan for 137.
“New Zealand series was played after a long gap due to COVID-19, we had also been in quarantine which obviously affected the game of players,” said Rana, who picked two wickets.
“We were getting used to the conditions. Slowly and gradually when we started playing, we adapted ourselves according to conditions. You can see the results of this hardwork in today’s match.”
Asked if the duo might be promoted to the top order after today’s stellar show, Rana said, “This decision depends upon team management. However, we aim to play at any position where our team needs us. If given opportunity to bat in top order, then obviously we will avail it and play our role in team victory.”
The Indian team has the services of a team psychologist for the first time on tour and both Rana and Vastrakar said they have benefitted from the move.
“Yes, she (psychologist) is with us since England tour and I used to talk with her often. My England tour did not go well. During Australia tour, she helped me to gain positivity. When we are angry with ourselves, we have few questions stuck in our mind.
“We know the answers but we don’t know the tricks to tackle it. So, she helped me to sort out these issues,” said Vastrakar.
Rana agreed with her teammate’s comments.
“As Pooja said, she is connected with us since long, however, we could not talk much online. So, when she is with us – obviously, we all players have to face ups and downs in our career.
“It is stressful when you are not able to perform for your team. But we got many positive vibes from our psychologist and she handled everything very well to help us out to overcome the stressed situation during our career. In my view, her presence is positive thing for our team,” said Rana.
Opener Shafali Verma, who looked off colour in the series against New Zealand, continued her rough patch, getting out on a duck against Pakistan but Rana is confident the youngster will come good.
“As far as Shafali is concerned, her past record has been excellent. She performed whenever the team required it from her. We can understand that every player faces ups and downs during the career.
“We never allowed her to go into a shell, rather we are trying to keep her motivated. Our team psychologist is working with her. I hope she will perform well in upcoming matches.”

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By Dipak

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