Pushed against the wall, India found themselves in a do-or-die match when they took on South Africa in the last league match of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 that was played on Sunday.
With their semi-final spot in contention, India had no option but to win against South Africa. However, India ended on the losing side as they could not defend 274 in 50 overs against South Africa. The match went all the way down the wire and the winner was declared only on the ultimate ball of the match. South Africa won the match by three wickets and in the process shattered India’s hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals.
While there is seldom any doubt that the entire Indian team as well as the 1.35 billion people of India would be extremely disappointed with India’s early exit from the World Cup, there are two players from the team, who would be disappointed a tad bit more than the rest. These two players are none other than Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, who have served Indian cricket for more than 20 overs. The 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup was going to be the swan song for these two legends, however, they would have hoped for a melody rather than a tearful cry.
Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami deserved a better farewell. 💔
— Female Cricket #CWC22 (@imfemalecricket) March 27, 2022
While Raj featured in her sixth World Cup, Goswami played her fifth. Interestingly, Raj played her maiden World Cup in 2000 in New Zealand and she also played her last World Cup in New Zealand this year. Indeed, life has come a full circle for the Indian captain and the world’s leading run-getter in women’s cricket.
Over their illustrious international careers, the duo has shattered many records. However, one thing that has eluded them is this coveted World Cup. There is no doubt that if India could have managed to win the World Cup this year, it would have been a perfect farewell gift to Raj and Goswami.
India is certainly blessed to have Raj, leading run-scorer and Goswami, the highest wicket-taker serving the sport for over 20 years. They have had a good run in the World Cups as well, with Raj becoming the second-highest run-getter in the World Cup with 1321 runs in 38 matches, including 11 half-centuries, which is the highest, in addition to a couple of centuries. On the other hand, there is Goswami, who is the top wicket-taker in the World Cups with 43 wickets in 34 matches.
Unequivocally, every Indian women’s cricket fan’s heart will go out to Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, who put in their blood and sweat to take Indian cricket to greater heights but unfortunately could not win the ultimate World Cup championship for the country.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.