Mithali Raj, the captain of the Indian team said that her team gave in to nervousness and shortage of experience in finishing close games as the main reason behind India’s loss to England in the final of the Women’s World Cup at Lords.
India was sitting well ahead of England at 191 for 3 and was inching closer to the title when the wicket of Punam Raut fell giving England the momentum.
They bulldozed over a relatively young middle-order as they reduced India for just 219 runs taking 7 wickets for just 27 runs. The landslide undid some solid performance laid by Punam Raut and Harmanjeet Kaur.
“Everybody was nervous and I think that resulted in our defeat,” a disappointed Mithali said at the press conference after the match.
“As a captain, I am very proud. I have seen the changes the girls have made. I”ve seen the transition. The team still looks very confident they will be a team that other teams will be looking out for. That”s what I”m proud of. We started off well. We had a few matches in which we were defeated and we came back stronger. Unlike 2005, this went to the end. The girls gave their best,” Raj said as she was satisfied with the performance of all the players.
Raj assured that this is her last World cup game and said the performance of the girls in this tournament will impact in a positive way back here India. Now girls will take up cricket as a profession and their parents will also encourage them to take up the game. “The response from the public is very positive. I”m sure BCCI is very proud of the team. When we lost the warm-up games, no one gave us the chance to reach the semi-finals, when we lost to South Africa and Australia; no one thought we would get to the final. A team like that has come to the finals and given a good fight to the home team.” An enlightened Raj said.
She said that is the perfect time to create the base for an equivalent tournament like Indian Premier League for the women’s. “The WBBL has given exposure to the two girls who have played [Smriti Mandhana and Kaur]. If more girls participate in such leagues, it will give them experience and help them to improve their own game. If you ask me they should have IPL because now is the right time to create that base. Women”s cricket is everywhere and they have put up a much better standard than the last World Cup.” She concluded.