Before the start of the final of ICC Women’s World Cup, though India weren’t the favourites to win the coveted trophy when they stepped on the field, the game went as per the plan. England was bowled out for a total of 228, a score which any team would like to chase in a final.
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The only thing India needed was a sincere batting display but once again, the team had a poor start as Smriti Mandhana, who shone for the side in first two games, flopped again and was bowled on a score of 0. The side recovered well and was 191/3 before the wickets tumbled in quick succession and in the end, they found themselves short by a margin of nine runs.
It was the inexperience that cost the team. Just one partnership worth 20-30 would have been enough but that wasn’t the case and in the end, the World Cup Trophy slipped from the hands of the Indian team. The wait to fulfil the dream of winning the trophy has now been extended by four years more.
After the loss in the final, skipper Mithali Raj was a dejected captain as it was the second time under her captaincy when India qualified for the final but faltered the final stage. This was her last world cup, as she said and now she will retire as the only captain (men and women) to lead the side in finals of two World Cups (50 overs).
In an interview with TOI, she spoke about the loss and also bizarre run-out that she was involved in. Here are the excerpts –
On recovering from the defeat
No, it’s not even 24 hours. The cup was ours for the taking but we couldn’t complete the final step. It will take a while for me to make peace with it. Maybe it was not written in our destiny.
On losing from a winning position –
If I knew the answer to that, I would be probably speaking to you in a much better frame of mind. After the loss of two early wickets, we were cruising with two partnerships that Punam (Raut) built with Harman (Harmanpreet Kaur) and Veda (Krishnamurthy). But then we lost our way.
On her run-out
I saw some weird stuff written about my run-out on social media. Actually, what happened was my spike got stuck in the pitch. Punam called me for a run and I responded. Before I reached half way, this thing (spike getting stuck) happened and I don’t think the TV cameras captured it. I couldn’t push myself hard and couldn’t even make an effort to dive. I was helpless. I was gutted.
On youngsters in the side
I think so. You learn from your failures and even Sunday’s defeat is a huge learning curve. This team is only going to get better from now on. We have experienced campaigners like Harmanpreet, Veda, Punam and they should see it that they pass on the experience to the younger girls. It’s their duty to mould the youngsters after Jhulan and I leave the stage.
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