- India captain Mithali Raj: “Looking at the wicket, it looks full of runs and any venue where you’ve scored runs previously always gives you confidence”
- England captain Heather Knight: “When you play at Lord’s there is that history and it’s the best ground in the world in my opinion”
Mithali Raj is predicting plenty of runs at Lord’s when India takes on host England in a mouth-watering ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 final on Sunday.
Both sides have impressed with the bat in this tournament as India made 281 in its opening match, also against England, a month ago – a score it equalled in the semi-final victory over Australia.
For its part, England smashed 377 for seven in an emphatic pool win over Pakistan – its highest total in an ICC WWC match.
Indian skipper Raj knows all about scoring runs at Lord’s – she made 59 in an ODI at the venue back in 2006 and a brilliant unbeaten 94 at the ground six years later.
So, despite its famous slope, that has been the downfall of many a batter over the years, and rain in the air that could give assistance to the bowlers, the 34-year-old is taking confidence into Sunday.
“We don’t play at Lord’s that often but when I last played here, the slope wasn’t really in my mind,” said Raj.
“If you start thinking too much about the slope and how the ball is going to curve in or curve out, then you forget the fundamentals of your own batting.
“We need to keep it as simple as we have been throughout the tournament and see where it takes us in the final.
“Looking at the wicket, it looks full of runs and any venue where you’ve scored runs previously always gives you confidence.
“It gives you confidence but you have to have that focus and put in the work to score your runs.”
The pitches throughout the tournament have mostly aided slower bowlers, with most teams’ spinners finding consistent success.
But with impressive quicks such as Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole and Natalie Sciver at his disposal, as well as a slightly greener wicket at Lord’s, England coach Mark Robinson is rooting for some seam movement.
“We’ve seen the wicket and it’s got a nice little bit of grass which will hopefully give it a little bit of pace,” said Robinson.
“Bar maybe one game at Derby, there hasn’t been any seam movement in this whole tournament so it’s been one for slow bowlers.
“The only thing that would affect our team selection is the weather because if we go to a shorter game, we might have to have a rethink.
“We’re hoping to avoid things like Duckworth-Lewis-Stern, so we’re all praying for sunshine and 50 overs per side to keep things simple.”
India beat England by 35 runs in its opening match, although the host has gone on to win seven consecutive matches since.
Home skipper Heather Knight admits revenge is on the mind of her team and believes a greater familiarity with the Lord’s surroundings could pay dividends.
“It feels like a hell of a long time ago that opening game was played,” she said. “Obviously we’re out for a little bit of revenge but both sides have played a lot of cricket since then and changed a lot, so I don’t think the first game will have much of a bearing.
“A lot of the squad have grown up training here [at Lord’s] and I only live about eight miles down the road, so it feels like a second home to me because I spend so much time here!
“When you play at Lord’s there is that history and it’s the best ground in the world in my opinion.”