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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 April, 2005, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Indian skipper Raj to defy injury
Mithali Raj batting for India
Raj hits one of her nine fours
Indian captain Mithali Raj vowed to play in the Women's World Cup final despite injuring her knee in their win over New Zealand in Potchefstroom.

Raj strained her knee while fielding after playing what proved to be a match-winning innings of 91 not out.

"Even if I'm not fit, I'll definitely play because it's a dream come true to play a final in the World Cup.

"It's going to be a big match for us [against Australia] but the girls are all prepared for it," she said.

Raj's efforts with the bat saw her side to a total of 204-6 and New Zealand came up 40 runs short despite Maria Fahey's 73 not out.

Seam bowler Amita Sharma took 3-24, but spin bowlers Nooshin Al Khadeer (3-39) and Neetu David (2-28) also played leading roles in snuffing out New Zealand's hopes.

"A couple of early wickets put pressure on the Kiwis, then the match was open for both sides, but Indian spinners are the best in the world.

"They can turn the ball on any surface," Raj added.

Typical was David's dismissal of Sarah McGlashan, who was lured forward only to find thin air with her bat as the ball spun past the outside edge to give Anju Jain the second of three stumping chances.

New Zealand skipper Maia Lewis insisted she had no regrets about putting India in after winning the toss.

"It was definitely a gettable target but obviously we were going to have to bat well," said Lewis.

"Getting off to a start where we lost a couple of quick wickets made it quite hard for us, but full credit to Maria Fahey who batted well and showed a lot of guts."

The result meant New Zealand denied a re-match which Australia, who they beat in the 2000 final.

"In the end we didn't play very well today and India took their chances. They're an improving side and really deserved it," Lewis added.




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