Four years ago, the Indian women's team started their World Cup campaign with a comprehensive 35-run win against hosts England at Derby. En route to winning their opening encounter against the formidable England outfit, Mithali Raj entered the women's record books by slamming her seventh consecutive half-century.
Captain #MithaliRaj posts a record seventh consecutive half-century in ODIs - India 235/2 #WWC17 #ENGvIND Follow - https://t.co/wTDfX8Vsu8— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) June 24, 2017
The skipper of the Indian side scored a well-compiled 71 off 73 deliveries before she was caught off the final ball at the deep mid-wicket boundary by Katherine Brunt.
After being put in to bat, the Indian openers, Punam Raut and Smriti Mandhana stitched a 144-run stand for the opening partnership. After five months, the left-handed batter was making a return to competitive cricket, having recovered from a knee injury sustained in the Women's Big Bash League in January.
With an array of drives and cracking pull shots, Mandhana scored a quickfire 90 off 72 balls to set a solid foundation for a massive first innings total. Her wicket at the halfway juncture meant one of the stalwarts of women's cricket, Mithali Raj, walked in to take centre stage.
No one has more chill than #MithaliRaj https://t.co/vjxFZ8g9Ip— ICC (@ICC) June 24, 2017
Competing in her fifth World Cup, Mithali settled down by accumulating the ones and the twos. Bringing in years of international experience, she crafted her way to a record seventh one-day international half-century. Her vital contribution of 71 off 73 balls with eight boundaries helped India post 281 runs for the loss of three wickets.
WORLD RECORD:— Test Match Special (@bbctms) June 24, 2017
The Indian captain Mithali Raj scores her 7th successive half century.
Beats the previous record of 6. #bbccricket pic.twitter.com/5kSWeBeIKo
Chasing a mammoth first innings total was always going to a tough ask for the home team. Despite a valiant 81 from Fran Wilson and contributions from Heather Knight, they fell short by 35 runs.
The win in the opening encounter also reinforced the belief in the young Indian side. The team competed in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers heading into this iconic tournament and secured their spot after clinching the summit clash against South Africa by a solitary wicket.