Mithali Raj made her ODI debut twenty years in the past, as a precociously proficient 16-year-old. She introduced her arrival in type, with an unbeaten 114 in opposition to Eire at Milton Keynes.
Mithali is now a seasoned campaigner — essentially the most capped ladies’s ODI cricketer, and the very best run-scorer within the 50-over format. The listing of accomplishments is lengthy, however it isn’t time to relaxation on laurels but.
A vital 66 within the second ODI in opposition to South Africa right here on Friday confirmed that Mithali has not misplaced her urge for food for runs. Her strong knock, within the firm of Punam Raut, set the stage for India to finish the highest-ever run chase in ladies’s ODI historical past.
Mithali introduced her huge expertise into play, piercing gaps effectively. When third-man was up, she nudged the ball previous the ’keeper, and danced down the observe to loft the spinners over mid-off and canopy. She might not be lighting fast between the wickets, however it was with out threat. The skipper was busy on the crease, guaranteeing that the required run-rate by no means reached alarming ranges.
Mithali’s dismissal within the 40th over introduced the vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur to the center. Whereas Mithali is a clear, textbook batter, Harmanpreet is an thrilling finisher. Mithali had received the workforce heading in the right direction, passing the baton over to Harmanpreet with 53 runs wanted in 62 balls.
Potent duo: Mithali Raj’s huge expertise and Harmanpreet Kaur’s effective ending abilities energy India in ODIs.
It was an ideal situation for the attacking Harmanpreet to chop unfastened. After hitting three boundaries off pacer Shabnim Ismail within the 43rd over, Harmanpreet was off to the races. She sealed the destiny of the match with an unbeaten 27-ball 39, taking India house comfortably with two overs to spare. The Mithali-Harmanpreet one-two punch had floored the South Africans.
Earlier this yr, Mithali introduced her retirement from T20Is to give attention to the 2021 ODI World Cup. The choice got here on the again of an acrimonious interval, when Mithali was dropped for the World T20 semifinal in opposition to England final yr. Mithali had accused the then coach Ramesh Powar of bias, whereas T20 captain Harmanpreet justified Mithali’s exclusion.
With new coach W.V. Raman on the helm, and T20Is out of the image, Mithali and Harmanpreet should come collectively to steer India’s quest for a maiden World Cup title.
Because the second ODI confirmed, India banks on Mithali and Harmanpreet in equal measure to realize this dream.