Women’s title will be as big as 2011 WC victory: Gautam Gambhir

Gambhir scored a crucial 97 in the 2011 final against Sri Lanka.

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Gautam Gambhir, who was India’s top-scorer of the 2011 World Cup final, is currently working as an ESPNcricinfo analyst, feels that if the Mithali Raj-led team can win big final of World Cup against England, then this victory will be even bigger than the win of Indian men’s team in the 2011 World Cup.

With the help of stunning performance of the all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur, the Indian women’s cricket team defeated tournament favourites Australia in the semi-final and make it to the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, which is scheduled to play on 23 July.

Speaking to India Today, Gautam Gambhir said, “When we won in 2011 it was at home and we were the tournament favourites. But the women won the semi-final against Australia in difficult conditions. They are one step away from the World Cup and if they can win this, it will be bigger than the 2011 World Cup win.”

While praising Harmanpreet Kaur, who played a stellar knock of 171* runs in the WWC 2017 semifinal against Australia, Gambhir added, “The occasion was very important. There will be other players who will play knocks like that, those who will get bigger runs than her. But it was a World Cup semi-final and against Australia. For a 42-overs game to finish 171 not out was unbelievable, incredible. If it was a 50-overs game who knows she would have got a double ton as well. She did it when India needed it the most and has got India one step away from a World Cup win.”

Former Indian skipper Ravi Shastri compared Harmanpreet’s match-winning knock of 115-ball unbeaten 171 with Indian legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev’s famous 175 in the 1983 World Cup. But, Gambhir did not agree with Shastri and said that it was unfair to compare the two innings as Kapil had scored against Zimbabwe in the league phase, while Kaur has done it against Australia in the WC semi-final, so her innings is a far better innings than former Indian skipper Dev.

The Delhi lad further opined, “Kapil Dev did it against Zimbabwe and Harmanpreet Kaur has done it against Australia. So you can’t compare the two innings. Also, he did it in the league phase and this was in the semi-final. So I don’t understand the comparison. I don’t think any man has played an innings like this. Not in a World Cup semi-final. It’s an unfair comparison. Harmanpreet’s innings is a far better inning if you look at the match situation.”

Gambhir said that India will definitely start as the favourites against England and confident that the Mithali Raj-led team to create history on Sunday by winning World Cup.

He concluded, “I have always believed whether it is men’s or women’s cricket, if you can beat Australia, it is crucial to win a World Cup. I don’t know how strong England is but India will definitely start the favourites.”