Saturday, 17 April 2021

Mithali Raj wants women’s League after World Cup heartbreak

LONDON: Losing captain Mithali Raj said now was time to “create the base” of a female equivalent to the Indian Premier League after her side’s hopes of Women’s World Cup final glory were snatched away by England at Lord’s.

Raj’s side looked on course to lift the trophy for the first time at 191 for three, chasing 229 for victory, in Sunday’s final at the ‘home of cricket’.

But on the same Lord’s ground where India’s men had won an inaugural World Cup title back in 1983, they lost their last seven wickets for just 28 runs to be bowled out for 219 with eight balls to spare.

Anya Shrubsole did the damage with a late burst of five wickets for 11 runs in 19 deliveries. The pace bowler’s match haul of six for 46 was also the best individual return in any Women’s World Cup final.

Pressure got to India in the end, but the 34-year-old Raj, who later confirmed this has been her last World Cup appearance, said that would be less likely to happen if they had a tournament to match Australia’s Twenty20 Women’s Big Bash League or England’s equivalent Super League.

“Everybody was very nervous and I think that resulted in our defeat,” Raj, the all-time leading run-scorer in women’s one-day internationals told reporters.

England’s women have been full-time professionals for some two years now, with Raj’s side still on their way — although the squad did receive bonus payments of 50 lakh Indian rupees (60,000) each for reaching the final from the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

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