3 years ago India ODI skipper Mithali Raj with her 6th ODI century confirmed India’s place in the Semi-final with a record-breaking victory against New Zealand in a virtual knock out. It was India’s only 2nd victory against New Zealand in 12 matches.
In an overcast condition, Bates won the toss and invited India to bat first in a match which was turned out to be a virtual quarterfinal. Openers continued to show their poor partnership show and this time Punam Raut was first to be dismissed. Trying to guide a ball past the slip, she eventually caught at the slip of the bowling of Lea Tahuhu. Smriti Mandhana soon followed her partner as she found her off stump cartwheeling off the bowling of Rowe.
India was 21/2 in the 8th over. It was the time when Mithali and her right hand Harmanpreet Kaur started to rebuild the innings. Mithali Raj was looking solid from the beginning of her innings.
Slowly and steadily she went on to pile up the runs by running hard and with the occasional boundaries. Becoming the first woman to reach the 6000 runs mark in ODI, Raj was completely in control of her batting as she played the balls according to the merit.
The main problem which India always faces is the number of dot balls they play while batting. In this match too both Mithali and Harman played plenty of dot balls but it was needed at that moment of time.
It was the first ball of 28th over, Rowe provided a fuller ball pitched on the middle and leg stump of Raj, and Raj completed her 50th half-century by sending the ball through the mid-wicket boundary for four with a glorious flick.
Then everyone thought that the innings of Mithali will be lifted to the forth or 6th gear, there was another setback as both Harmanpreet after making her fifty and Deepti Sharma got out within the space of one over in the 2nd power-play. India was 175/4 at the end of the 40th over.
India then needed to accelerate the innings. In her recent interview, Mithali Raj stated how she feels about her recent achievement and also stated that if she was allowed to play more freely without the fear of getting out then she might have made more runs.
In this match, the situation again demanded Mithali to stay at the crease till the end. But the problem was if Mithali continue to play the role as an anchor of the innings one need to step up to play the role of a pinch-hitter for the sake of the team.
This time Veda Krishnamurthy assured her skipper with her own innings.
The blistering knock of Veda gave Mithali the chance to play more freely. Mithali knew even if she plays four or five dot balls there was Veda to compensate the run.
On the one hand, Veda torn apart the White Ferns bowling, on the other hand, Mithali Raj marched to her 6th ODI hundred. 5th ball of the 48th over of the bowling of Kasperek, Mithali played it on the leg side and hurried for a couple of runs to complete a marvellous knock of her.
She hit a boundary off the bowling of Kasperek in the final over and got out in the very next ball.
Her 109 became the highest individual score by an Indian Skipper in World Cup and also the highest individual score by an Indian in World Cups against New Zealand.
Her partnership of 132 with Harman for the 3rd wicket and 108 with Veda for 5th wicket helped India to get behind the par score which eventually leads India to the victory by 186 runs. Mithali’s magnificent innings earned her the player of the match award just as she earned it 12 years back.
Now if we break the innings of Mithali Raj, her 50 came off 71 balls while her next 50 came off just 45 balls. Her innings were garlanded with 11 fours, hit all over the park. Within her innings of 109 in 123 balls, she played 60 dot balls and ran 40 ones and twos.