Kirsten Beams has bowled really well in her 6 overs and has contained India captain Mithali Raj and opener Punam Raut. Both these players are known for their batting abilities against spinners. Despite those technical suppositories of the opponent, both the spinners, Jess Jonassen and Kristen Beams used angles and flight to cut off scoring options for Raut and  Raj. They protected the boundaries on the leg side of the two right-handed batters while asking them to work against the turn, making it difficult to manoeuvre the ball over the offside.

Beams came to bowl the 30th over and India was yet to achieve their 100 runs mark. Raj and Raut took a single each in the first two balls of the over. It was the 3rd ball of the over. Raj came down the track and times it to perfection. It was the first time in the innings that Raj showed some intention and it grabbed her the maximum result. She moved away from the line to make a bit of room, and just extends her arms through a straight drive to loft clean and high, back over the bowler’s head. 6 it was.

Mithali Raj hit 10 sixes earlier and 3 sixes after that stroke in her ODI career but none can match the importance of that notch. Mithali took her tally to 42 and became the first women cricketer to reach to the 6000 runs mark in One Day international. She went on to complete her 49th half-century in 95 balls with 4 fours. It was not the kind of knocks, Mithali Raj is known for but again it was the need of the hour.

Mithali Raj

Mithali Raj. Photo: Getty Images

Earlier Meg Lanning won the toss and decided to field first. Raj came out to bat at the 4th over when Smriti Mandhana was sent back to pavilion on 3. Raj got out on the first ball against Niekerk in the previous match and Lanning turned to her spinners for the valuable wicket. Despite scoring 14 runs in 44 balls in first 20 overs against the spin trio of Gardner, Jonassen and Beams, Raj hung in there.

She took a single to long-on in her 78th ball to equal the record of Charlotte Edwards and then in the next over pushed a back of length ball outside off stump, off the back foot to that fielder who’s just dropped back onto the rope to become the leading run-getter in Women’s ODIs. It was a scintillating achievement for a lazy girl who joined cricket to become fit only. Coach Jyoti Prasad who used to be a friend of Dorai Raj told him that her daughter might as well learn cricket.

Dorai Raj’s ‘lazy’ daughter was taken to her brother’s cricket coaching classes, to become fit. After Prasad’s suggestion, Dorai Raj’s daughter faced few balls at the net, and Prasad was convinced about her potential as a cricketer. Later, he admitted her daughter to Keynes cricket club where Mithali Raj, thrived under Sampat Kumar a well-respected coach.

Mithali Raj, who didn’t have any intention to become a cricketer went on to play all the age group categories when she was less than 15 years old. Mithali was selected for 1997 Indian World Cup Camps, at the age of 15 but the news of her coach Sampat Kumar died of a road accident came as a set back to her. She went to her first coach who gave her the metal stability to attend the Indian camp.

Mithali Raj’s every 1000 runs:

Runs Innings Taken Not Out  Average 100 50 0
0-1000 29 05 41.66 1 6 1
1000-2000 29 13 62.50 1 8 0
2000-3000 30 06 41.66 0 9 1
3000-4000 24 07 58.82 1 9 0
4000-5000 32 10 45.45 2 5 2
5000-6000 20 06 71.42 0 12 1
6000-6888 25 06 46.73 2 4 1

After scoring 137 runs at an average of 45.66 in Jhansi Rani Tournament in 5 innings for South Zone in 1999 she was called for India’s team that was sailing to England. Prior to India’s first match against Ireland in Milton Keynes, India played a tour match against England A.

Batting first, Mithali Raj was sent by the management to open the innings with Anju Jain Both of them added 52 runs for the first wicket in 11 overs. In 41 minutes, Raj batted, she scored 22 runs in 32 balls before getting out to Winks. India banked on Chandrakanta Aheer’s 73 and Hemalata Kala’s 54 to defeat England A by 113 runs.

Mithali Raj. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)

On 26th June 1999, Mithali Raj along with Reshma Gandhi, Hemalata Kalaa, Rupanjali Shahstri made their debut for India. Winning the toss Indian Skipper Chandrakanta Aheer decided to bat first. In that match, Mithali Raj ( 114*) became the youngest debutant to score an ODI hundred.

Raj never looked back from there. Year after year she became the stalwart of Indian batting line up and made her indispensable part of the National side. She maintained the momentum for 20 years and has scored almost 18% of the runs that her team made in the 20 years. The consistency of her batting can be reflected from the fact that her average after each innings never dropped to less than 40 except the in the matches in the World Cricket Series.

Run scored by Mithali Raj in every two years:

Year Span Innings Played by Mithali/NO Run Scored by Mithali Average
Run
Innings Played by India Run scored by India/wicket fell
(inc. Mithali)
Average run % Run scored by Mithali Raj
1999-2000 6/2 270 67.50 12 2250/72 31.25 12.00%
2001-2002 13/2 323 29.36 15 1744/84 20.76 18.52%
2003-2004 26/8 1036 57.55 29 5110/163 31.34 20.27%
2005-2006 31/9 984 44.72 38 5746/194 29.61 17.12%
2007-2008 21/5 689 43.06 22 3860/150 25.73 17.84%
2009-2010 10/4 534 89.00 12 1909/72 26.51 27.97%
2011-2012 21/5 654 40.87 21 3522/169 20.84 18.56%
2013-2014 12/5 398 56.85 15 2796/ 103 27.14 14.23%
2015-2016 12/3 519 57.66 14 2514/83 30.28 20.64%
2017-2018 26/7 1143 60.15 32 6715/190 35.34 17.02%
2019-2019 11/3 338 42.25 12 2246/71 31.63 15.04%
Total 198/53 6888 50.64 222 38412/1351 28.43 17.93%

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