The Indian Women’s team lost their sixth match in the World Cup against Australia which is their second consecutive defeat after their loss against South Africa. This was Australia’s fifth win of the tournament which made them qualify for the semifinals. It was not a very good day for the Indians on the field as they were unable to defend their 226. However, Mithali Raj with her innings of 69 became the highest run-getter in women’s ODIs surpassing England’s Charlotte Edwards.
Batting first, India could only manage a total of 226 for the fall of 7 wickets which when compared to the batting lineup of Australia is very low. Going in with an unchanged squad from the previous game India started with Mandhana and Raut. Similar to the three previous matches, a much tighter field was set for Mandhana which this time too proved to effective. She edged one to the keeper at the score of 3 and had to walk back with a score of less than 10 for the fourth consecutive time. Being one down at 9 the scene was not looking good for India. But the Australians never saw what was coming. Along with Punam Raut, Mithali set up a 157-run-partnership for the second wicket which set up a solid foundation for a high scoring game.
Though the run-rate for the second wicket partnership was comparatively less, there was always chance to improve in the final 10 overs. In the 41st over Raj was sent back by a sharp caught and bowled by Kristen Beams. Next up Harmanpreet Kaur provided a solid support for Raut on her way to her second ODI century. But she fell just after the Indian scored went past 200 in an attempt to elevate the run rate. This again triggered another collapse of the Indian side. Here India went down from 203 for 2 to 220 for 7. No batter from there on got to a double figure score. This middle order landslide is a certain matter of worry if India has to produce anything substantial in this World Cup.
Chasing 227, Australia started off well and in no point in the chase did they seem to be in any sort of trouble. India pulled out the first wicket of Bolton when the Australian score was 62 and the second and last to fall was Mooney at the score of 103. Captain, Lanning, and Perry put up a 124 run partnership to see Australia home comfortably. This win got the top position for Australia at the table and ensured their semifinals berth.
Playing alongside Raut, at the score of 41 Raj overtook Charlotte Edwards’ record for the most ODI runs. She took 8 innings lesser than Charlotte to reach the 5992 runs marks and went past to become the first women to ever score 6000 runs in ODIs. She averages 51.52 in ODI which is also the most for any batswoman with over 3000 runs.
Making a list of all her records would take more than a day. The only closest Indian to Mithali on the list of highest run scorers is Harmanpreet Kaur with just over 1700 runs. The current Indian side also includes Jhulan Goswami who recently became the highest wicket taker in ODIs. With this kind of depth in the bowling and batting, India sure seems to have fair chance to grab the World Cup this year. But, this kind of performance against the defending champions is not what we would like to see continue on the field.