‘Indian eves will be surprise element in World T20’

New Delhi [Delhi]: Looking at Indian women’s cricket team’s scintillating performance in the T20I series against South Africa, ODI skipper Mithali Raj believes that the team will be a big surprise element in the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 in the West Indies.

The Indian eves scripted history with their double series win in a single tour to South Africa for the first time ever.

Indian won the five-matchT20I series, 3-1 after winning the three-match ODI series, 2-1.

“The team still requires a lot of hard work in a lot of areas when it comes to the T20 format. We have been very good in the one-day format, but the way the girls have responded to this format in South Africa, I think there is a lot of scope that we can be a surprise element in the World T20,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Raj as saying.

India bowled out the hosts on 112 in the decider T20I to win the match by 54 runs with their all-round performance.

Opener Raj struck a quick-fire half-century in the game, which was her third half-ton in the T20I series.

“Now people back home are keen to watch on television, they want to know what the Indian women’s team is doing in South Africa,” Raj said of Indian crowd’s perception of women’s cricket.

“It is just unfortunate the one-dayers weren’t televised but I am happy the T20s were televised and we have given a very good result,” the 35-year-old added.

Raj, the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket, said that the team now has some strong players who could guide the side to victories.

In the last match, Raj shared a 98-run stand with 17-year old Jemimah Rodrigues. Her opening partner Smriti Mandhana has also been a good support to her.

“I can at times take that initiative to try out a few strokes in the middle, without getting bothered if I get out. I am very happy that we have more than one or two match-winners in the squad. That makes it a very strong squad,” Raj said.

India will next play a three-ODI series at home against Australia in March, followed by a T20 tri-series in Mumbai that also involves England.(ANI)