Legendary India captain Mithali Raj hinted at retirement after India’s early exit from the Women’s World Cup. The 39-year-old skipper was deflated as she reflected on India’s defeat to South Africa in a final-over thriller in their final group stage match of the World Cup at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Sunday.
Mithali Raj is likely to draw the curtains on a celebrated career that has seen her play 6 World Cups. The influential Indian skipper had led the team to the 2017 World Cup final, but an inconsistent run prevented India from giving their skipper a proper goodbye.
Mithali Raj and her girls were heartbroken as South Africa successfully chased a 275-run goal after much drama in the final over. After defending 7 runs in the final over, off-spinner Deepti Sharma went too far when well-placed batter Mignon du Preez was caught long on.
The moment of happiness turned to despair when the equation that struck India Mignon, who was hitting fifty, gave another chance. The South African star made the most of the opportunity as she helped the Proteas women cross the finish line in the final episode with 3 wickets remaining.
India was on their way to their final group game against unbeaten South Africa and needed nothing less than a win to keep their hopes of the semi-final alive.
Update: India’s campaign in the #CWC22 comes to an end. South Africa needed 1 from the last ball and managed to score the winning run.
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) March 27, 2022
EMOTIONAL MITHALI HINTS ON RETIREMENT
India missed the services of senior pacer Jhulan Goswami because she had a problem.
The heartbreak could spell the end of the glorious careers of Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami. Two senior campaigners had hinted before the World Cup that this could be their last tournament in Indian colors.
After the defeat, Mithali said: “Everything should come to an end, it will take time to calm the emotions, but that is sport. Thank you to everyone who showed up for every Indian match, it was nice to hear your cheers and stay tuned will continue to support the girls and the Indian women’s team in the future.”
“Her experience (Jhulan Goswami) would have added a lot, but this was an exposure for the other girls to perform,” Mithali added.
THE GIRLS GIVE THEIR EVERYTHING
The skipper, who ends up as the leading go-getter in women’s cricket, praised the team for their efforts and their never-dying attitude, even in the tense situation against South Africa.
“Personally, I think the girls gave their all. It was an important game, a good game, it ended our campaign, but I’m proud of the girls who have come this far. With the bowlers we had, I 275 a good total, we had defended similar totals in the past,” she added.
Mithali Raj had hit fifty (68 out of 84) after opener Smritit Mandhana hit a rapid-fire 71 to aid India at post 274. Despite India pulling the ball back, South Africa kept their nerves down and shot the target to get a to break a million hearts back in India.
Mithali, who made her debut in 1999, played 231 ODIs and hit 7,737 runs, an ODI record for women with 7 hundreds. She also played 12 Tests and 89 T20Is.