Indian skipper Mithali Raj created a new World Record with her 64th ODI fifty as Team India posted 274/7 after batting first in the ‘do-or-die’ match against South Africa in the ICC Women World Cup 2022. Mithali, who was the youngest batter to score a fifty in World Cup in 2022, also became the oldest to score a half-century on Sunday (March 27).
Mithali scored 68 off 84 balls with eight fours at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch. After explosive opener Shafali Verma gave India a blazing start with a quick-fire 53 off 36, skipper Mithali joined forces with Smriti Mandhana. While Mandhana top-scored 71 off 84 balls, Indian captain’s fantastic knock helped the 2017 World Cup finalists post a challenging total.
Mithali holds the record of scoring the most 50-plus scores in the Women’s World Cup. Indian skipper Mithali is also the oldest Team India batter to score a half-century at the World Cup. The 39-year-old scored her maiden half-century against South Africa in 2000. The premier batter also registered her record-setting 50-plus score at the same venue on Sunday.
Harmanpreet Kaur came up with 48 off 57 balls towards the end of the innings. Shafali scored bulk of the runs in the partnership with Smriti and looked at her fluent best en route her maiden World Cup fifty. She put South Africa’s best bowler, pacer Shabnim Ismail under the pump by attacking her from the word go.
Youngest Indian to score 50 in WC – Mithali Raj
Oldest Indian to score 50 in WC – Mithali Raj
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) March 27, 2022
Shafali collected three boundaries off Shabnim’s second over including an audacious walk across the off-stump to whip the South African bowler over short-fine leg. Her entertaining innings included eight fours.
The 18-year-old completed her first fifty of the competition with a boundary over mid-on off pacer Masabata Klaas. With the way the openers were going about their business, India looked on course for 300 for the second time in the tournament. However, India lost Shafali against the run of play before number three batter Yastika Bhatia got out in a bizarre fashion.
There was a miscommunication over a quick single on the leg side between Shafali and Smirti while Yastika played a sweep shot on to her stumps off spinner Chloe Tryon, leaving India at 96 for two from 91 for no loss.
It was a typical Mithali knock as she changed gears after taking her time early on. She released the pressure with a bunch of cut shots off spinners before hitting a sublime cover driver off pacer Marizanne Kapp. With Mithali going strong and Harmanpreet joining her in the middle, India found their rhythm back to reach 223 for three in 40 overs.
However, only 51 runs were scored off the last 60 balls for the loss of four wickets as India failed to get the final flourish.
Brief Scores: India Women 274/7 (Smriti Mandhana 71, Mithali Raj 68, Shafali Verma 53, Harmanpreet Kaur 48; Masabata Klass 2/28, Shabnim Ismail 2/32) vs South Africa Women
(with PTI inputs)