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On This Day: Mithali Raj Became the First Indian Cricketer to Score 2000 T20I Runs

India was chasing a mere total of 108 runs against Sri Lanka at Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur. Just a day before India had their first-ever defeat in the history of the Asia Cup from its emancipation against Bangladesh. Both Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj made a cautious start on a pitch which helped the spinners. Both of them added 20 runs from the first 5 overs most of which came from the singles.

It was the first ball of the 5th over. Mithali was batting on 7 from 15 deliveries and was ready to face Ranasinghe who has conceded 2 runs in her first over. Raj picked up a single and became the first Indian cricketer across the gender to complete 2000 runs in T20I cricket. She got out after scoring 23 which included a lone boundary.

Veda Krishnamurthy came to bat in 12th over and after the fall of the skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, she played a sensible inning of unbeaten 29 from 23 balls. Anuja Patil supported her senior partner well and led the team for a convincing victory without any more causalities.

Earlier, despite Hasini Perera’s 46 from 43 balls, Srilanka only managed o reach to a total of 107. Indian spin attack comprised with Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Deepti Sharma and Anuja Patil gave away only 79 runs in 15 overs among themselves to strangle the Srilankan batting. Apart from Perera, Yasoda Mendis was the only one to achieve the two-digit figure.

Mithali Raj, who has scored her career-best (97*) in the T20I against Malaysia earlier in the tournament, was not regarded as the international T-20 match until a month later when ICC decided to give international status to all the T-20 matches, played by its members.


Mithali Raj who made her T20I debut in 2006, went to score an unbeaten 51 against the mighty Aussies in her 2nd match but failed to win the match for India. Chasing 143 to win India needed a six in the last ball to tie the game, but Raj only able to manage a 4 to complete her 1st half-century. Later she went on to hit 16 more of them.

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Raj ended her career with 2364 runs in 89 matches with an average of 37, though her strike rate was below 100. She still is the highest run-getter in T-20 for India, closely followed by Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur. Though she scored runs against with brisk pace and consistency against South Africa, Pakistan and West Indies and England, she failed to score against Australia where her average dropped down below 20.

In the last couple of years of her career, she fell under the scanner for her inabilities to accelerate and often criticized to play more dot balls. Indian management decided to gave faces a chance and dropped her from the crucial Semi-final in 2018 World Cup which India lost by 8 wickets against England.  It created one of the nastiest controversies of Indian women cricket.

Mithali Raj was included in the team against New Zealand and England. In the match against England, India needed 3 runs from the final over, but Raj was denied the strike in the entire final over and India lost the match by 1 run. Raj remained not out on 30 from 32 balls.  Again in the 3rd match against New Zealand India needed 16 runs from the last over. Though Deepti Sharma and Mithali Raj hit 2 fours in first 3 balls it was not enough as India lost the match by 2 runs. Raj remained not out on 24 from 20 balls. It was her last match in National Colour in the shortest format of the game.



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