Indian skipper Mithali Raj on Sunday said that Women-in-Blue needs to “work on partnerships” as the hosts look to claim an unassailable lead in the three-match ODI series against England.

“We have to work on partnerships. We had just 2, between the openers and mine with Taniya (Bhatia). We need to work on playing the middle overs,” said Mithali on the eve of the second ODI in Mumbai.

During the series opener, young Jemimah Rodrigues, who was also the top scorer with 48, and Smriti Mandhana, added 69 runs for the first wicket and after that Team India had a mini-collapse. However, Mithali (44) and wicketkeeper Tania (25) resurrected the innings by putting up a 54-run stand for the sixth wicket.

Riding on left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht’s (4 for 25) brilliant spell, Team India was able to defend the modest score of 202.

“When we can go and score 200 with just 2 partnerships, if another couple of batters can score runs, that would be a good score on this wicket,” the celebrated cricketer pointed out.

Heaping presses on Jemimah, Mithali said that the 18-year-old has forged a good combination with the settled Smriti Mandhana.

 

“She has gradually improved since her debut in South Africa. So much exposure at such a young age will only help her progress more and take responsibility of giving a good start. India have, for long, struggled to have a good opening pair. Now I can see good starts since the New Zealand (tour),” Mithali remarked.

Mithali was also all praise for Shikha Pandey.

“She’s been with team for long. Every player goes through a lean patch. As a senior and captain it’s my duty to give more confidence, giving more opportunities. Since the New Zealand tour you’ve seen how she has taken up the responsibility of the first spell along with Jhulan Goswami. Jhulan being around also helps as she shares her experience. With a senior around, juniors develop under their wings,” Mithali explained.