Thirushkamini Murugesan, on Thursday, became the first Indian woman to hit a century in the 50-over World Cup as the hosts registered a comfortable 105-run win over the West Indies in their opening match at the Brabourne Stadium. Thirushkamini surpassed the previous best score of 91* by skipper Mithali Raj in the 2005 edition against the Netherlands. It is to be seen if the Indian women win their first world title.
The Women in Blue couldn’t have asked for a better start. They first posted 284 for six, their highest total in World Cups, the previous best being 275 against the Netherlands in 2000. They then bowled out the Caribbeans for 179 in 44.3 overs.
Niranjana Nagarajan picked up three wickets, including the most important one of Deandra Dottin, while veteran Jhulan Goswami (2/13) was the pick of the bowlers with an economy of 1.36.
Chasing under lights, the West Indies lost the plot in the very first over when Kycia Knight was run out by Harmanpreet Kaur. The Indians didn’t let their opposition settle in by taking wickets at regular intervals. The only highlight of the West Indies innings was Dottin’s performance. The all-rounder, who had earlier picked up three wickets, seemed to have things under control as she struck a fusillade of sixes before Niranjana cut short her promising knock.
Earlier, openers Thirushkamini and Poonam Raut added 175 on a flat deck. Shanel Daley broke the stand trapping Raut in the front. Soon, Thirushkamini, returning after a two-year hiatus, got to her century with a single off Anisa Mohammed. Her innings was studded with 11 fours and a six.
Following her dismissal (run out), Goswami and Kaur struck a quickfire 36 each to help India post 284.
For the record, the Knight sisters — Kycia and Kyshona — became the first West Indian twins and the second overall (after Australia’s Alex and Kate Blackwell) to play in a World Cup match.