Mithali Raj has been the batting mainstay of the Indian women’s cricket team for over a decade now. Her batting prowess has won India many matches in the past two decades. She is the only Indian women cricketer to have played 230 ODIs and recently, she became the highest run-getter in women’s ODIs. There are not enough words to express the great contribution Mithali Raj has made to Indian cricket. Raj, a former captain of India, has transformed Indian women’s cricket and is the only female captain to have represented her country in two World Cup finals. Here is a look back at the legend’s biggest hits, the hits that made her a legend as she says her last goodbye to the sport of cricket.
Raj played 12 Tests, 232 ODIs, and 89 T20 Internationals throughout one of the most illustrious careers in the history of the sport. Her final appearance for India came during the 50-over World Cup earlier this year, in a match against South Africa, which India lost by three wickets to exit the competition based on breaking news sports cricket.
1. India vs. Ireland, ODI 1999
Indian Mithali Raj made history at Milton Keynes by scoring an undefeated 114 runs in the one-day professional debut against Ireland. This left a lasting impact on the cricket world as India was chosen to bat first and sent out two debutantes, Mithali and Reshma Gandhi, to start the match.
The Indian women’s cricket team responded well to the Ireland bowlers, sharing a 258-run partnership to win the match by 161 runs. Ireland’s ladies lost all their wickets for 97 runs when chasing a huge target.
2. India vs. England, second Test match, 2002
By reaching 214 runs against England in her third Test match at the age of 19, Mithali Raj beat Karen Rolton’s record for the world’s highest individual Test score of 209. At a young age, Raj exhibited grit and willpower to overcome all obstacles and bring home the only double-century of her career.
India was led by Mithali Raj and captain Anjum Chopra in their response to England’s 329 in the first innings. For the time being, Mithali’s longest Test innings lasted 598 minutes.
3. India vs South Africa, Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017
In this encounter, Mithali Raj became the second player to score 5,500 ODI runs, after Charlotte Edwards. South Africa lost the match by 49 runs thanks to a 96-run second-wicket partnership between Mithali Raj and Mona Meshram, who also scored runs for the team. This victory nearly guaranteed India’s team a spot in the 2017 Women’s World Cup.
4. India vs. New Zealand, ICC Women’s World Cup, 2017
In the virtual quarter-final of the World Cup, Indian women were asked to bat first by New Zealand. At one point in the game, India’s score was 21 for two and then Mithali Raj stepped up to the crease. Raj teamed up with Harmanpreet Kaur to share a 132-run partnership, which helped turn the game around for India. She scored an extraordinary 109, bringing her side up to 265 scores.
India won the match against New Zealand by 186 runs, qualifying to play in the semifinals against Australia. New Zealand was bowled out for 79 runs by the brilliant bowling efforts of the Indian bowlers.
5. India vs England, 1st ODI, 2012
At the Lord’s Cricket Stadium, Mithali Raj defeated England in the first ODI with a superb match-winning 94 from 111 deliveries. When England batted first, Archana Das and N Niranjana quashed the batting, and they were all out for 229 scores.
A superb 106-run partnership between Poonam Raut (60) and Mithali Raj (94) helped India reach the mark aside from losing Mona Meshram early.
6. India vs Malaysia, Asia Cup T20, 2018
India women scored 169 for 3 thanks to Mithali Raj’s unbeaten 97, and then Malaysia was bowled out for 27 in a smashing 142-run victory to begin the Women’s T20 Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur. With six bowlers bowling a combined total of five first overs, India went down Malaysia’s batting order without allowing a single batsman to reach double figures.
7. India vs South Africa, 2018 T20
India completed the 165-run chase with seven balls remaining as a result of two vital partnerships between Mithali (54) and Veda Krishnamurthy (37 not out), who she combined 52 runs with for the unbroken fourth wicket.
8. India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup T20 2016
2016 Women’s T20 Asia Cup champion India defeated Pakistan by 17 runs after Mithali Raj hit an unbeaten half-century and an incredible bowling performance from the home team.
India gave Pakistan a target of 122, but they could only reach 104 with the loss of six wickets in the allotted 20 overs. When Pakistan was 75 for 3 in the fifteenth over of their chase, they were in the position to win the match. Pakistan had a strong start.
9. India vs Sri Lanka, T20 2014
At the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam, SL limited India Women to 147 for three after choosing to field first. By forming two important partnerships with Anagha Deshpande and Harmanpreet Kaur while opening the batting for India, Mithali Raj (67) assisted the side in establishing a manageable goal.
Shashikala Siriwardena led the innings despite the visitors losing their top order early and being reduced to 43 for three, putting them within striking distance of the target. The Sri Lankan openers were removed by Soniya Dabir, while Chamari Athapaththu was claimed by Rajeshwari Gayakwad. Ranasinghe was included in her accounting of the visitors’ 80.
10. India vs England, T20 2014
Mithali Raj and difficult batting situations go together like peaches and cream. The first team to bat was England, who was eventually out for 229 runs. India lost its openers early in the chase and then Raj entered the game. She kept her cool under pressure, and her score of 94 made it easy for the visitors to reach their goals.
Mithali Raj is a great example of how cricketers can improve with age. She still can score runs at pace and in different conditions, at a time when other players are starting to lose their edge. She also serves as an inspiration for all aspiring young female cricketers.