Mithali Raj, who is considered to be the foundation of India’s batting line-up, made the record for most runs in Women ODIs during the World Cup game against Australia. She beat England’s Charlotte Edwards who had the record of 5992 runs on Wednesday, the 12th of July 2017. The skilled batsman also came to be known as the 1st player in Women’s cricket to amass 6,000 ODI runs when she pushed for one around the corner off Kristen Beams in the very next over.
Her fans and associate cricketers took to Twitter to applaud her on the achievement:
Raj made her international debut at the age of just 17, against Ireland in the year 1999. She right away made a bang by scoring a hundred in her opening game. ’There wasn’t a point in my life when I thought I want to become a cricketer’, Mithali said.
She did face the challenges like others do. Her parents completely supported her but it were her relatives who were against it. They were of the opinion that cricket is not a woman’s game. There were people around who were unaware about women’s cricket. She had to answer absurd questions like what the cricket rules were, how many women play at a time, etc. Fortunately, in 2002, the women cricket team played a lot of home series and they were broadcasted. So, this helped people became aware of women’s cricket.
Her ability came to light when she smashed an unbeaten 214 against England in Taunton in August 2002. She also made a record for the highest individual scorer in Women’s Test cricket. Ever since, it is Kiran Baluch (242 against Windies) of Pakistan who has managed to surpass her accomplishment.
By 2004, Raj had become the pivot of the batting line-up and she displayed her class by building up 199 runs at an average of 50 in the Women’s World Cup 2004-05. She scored an unbeaten 91 against New Zealand in the semi-final. At India’s next World Cup in Australia in 2008-09, she compiled 247 runs at an notable average of 61.75.
During India’s tour to England in 2012, she tallied 251 runs at an average of 83.66. At the first ODI played at Lord’s, Raj held India’s innings together by amassing 94 without being caught. Before the beginning of 2013 Women’s World Cup in India, Raj was the No.1 batter in the ICC rankings. After 2 years when India played their first ever Test in 8 years in opposition to England, Raj shone brightly by crushing a half-century to direct the Indian team to victory.
The 2nd most-capped player in ODI history after Charlotte Edwards, Raj took over the former England captain’s count of all-time highest runs in the format (5992) when she crushed Ellyse Perry for a single in the 29th over of India’s World Cup game against Australia. Then and there, she also became the 1st woman cricketer to get 6000 runs in women’s cricket.
Raj is only the 3rd player in the history of women to pilot the country in 100-plus ODIs. Her tally of 49 half-centuries in the 50-over format and 7 of them on the run are a record. Raj’s consistency is incomparable. She’s managed to leave behind some of the most reputed names in men’s tour. Even at the age of 34, it wouldn’t come as a blow if she becomes the first women ever to have 200 caps. A great source of inspiration for women cricket!