#OnThisDay 15 Years Ago, Mithali Raj’s 91 powered India to their first ever World Cup Final

There are many sporting events throughout the globe. There is an umpteenth number of games that humans play. We have millions of players. Cricket is no different. There is a match happening right now in any part of the world and there are million dreaming to play alongside billions who are ready to catch the live-action.

However, only a few get their names big. Thousands come and go but few make their names large. Only a few are remembered by people. Only a few are looked upon. These are gems who step up at the right time. Make no mistake, this is not luck but sheer dedication and struggle that enables a player to turn into a gem for scenarios. While men have names like Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli who carry the burden of the whole team with their bats, there are leaders like Dhoni who step up at the right time with their plans and bats.

 

Mithali Raj in 2005 Women's Cricket World Cup. Pic Credits: ICC
Mithali Raj in 2005 Women’s Cricket World Cup. Pic Credits: ICC

 

In women’s cricket, things are getting closer to the male cricketers in all possible and positive ways. We have explosives replacing Virender Sehwag. Shafali Verma is the new opener to take India to a flying start. On the reliable faces, the names and mention of Mithali Raj comes first.

This is the right day to remember one of the most important knocks that the experienced Indian campaigner has played. This knock came against White Ferms. The match was no casual encounter, it was the semi-final of the world cup. India were batting first and were in the pressure of getting a good total to increase their chances of reaching a world cup final.

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New Zealanders were comfortable chasing and had sent India to bat first. Little they knew that Mithali was up for the task. She scored an unbeaten 91 of 104 balls. Alongside Mithali, Anjum Chopra held one end for her side and batted slowly but cautiously. After a poor start from the openers, Indian middle order and Mithali were under pressure to post a satisfactory total. She alongside Anjum steadied the ship for India. While Mithali played her shots, Anjum made sure that no more wickets fell. They closed on a competitive score of 204 after losing 6 of their batters at the completion of 50 overs.

 

Indian Women's Cricket Team. Pic Credits: ICC
Indian Women’s Cricket Team. Pic Credits: ICC

 

Pullar was the pick of bowlers for New Zealand and performance of similar sort was expected from the Indian bowling line up. To the relief of Mithali’s heroics, Indian bowlers stood up and executed the plans. They bowled out White Ferns for a mere 164 in 43 overs. Amita Sharma was the star of Indian attack with 3 wickets. Mithali was awarded as the player of the match trophy. Interestingly, this match was played in 2005 when women cricket was a new thing for many. Performances like these not only shaped the career of players but also earned loyal fans for the game. Not only Mithali but the game grew.

Brief Scorecard:

India Women: 204/6 (50)

New Zealand Women: 164/10 (43.4)

Result: India Women won by 40 Runs.

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