Right time for women’s IPL: Mithali
Indian captain blames nervousness and lack of experience for World Cup final loss to England
London, UK - Mithali Raj, the Indian captain, put down India's nine-run loss in the World Cup final at Lord's on Sunday to nervousness and lack of experience in finishing close games.
India lost seven wickets for 28 runs after looking set to clinch its maiden World Cup title. It slumped from 191 for three to 219 all out in chase of 229.
But even in disappointment, Mithali chose to focus on her team's "special journey".
"Everybody was very nervous and I think that resulted in our defeat," she said.
Mithali, who confirmed that this was her last World Cup game, hoped India's performance would serve as the start of a giant leap for women's cricket in India.
"The response from the public is very positive. I'm sure BCCI is very proud of the team. When we lost the warm-up games, no one gave us the chance to reach the semifinals," she said.
"When we lost to South Africa and Australia, no one thought we would get to the final. A team like that has come to the finals and given a good fight to the home team.
"The WBBL (Women's Big Bash League in Australia) has given exposure to the two girls who have played [Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur]. If more girls participate in such leagues, it will give them experience and help them to improve their own game. If you ask me they should have (women's) IPL because now is the right time to create that base. Women's cricket is everywhere and they have put up a much better standard than the last World Cup."
‘Proud of team’
"The girls are sad because they have given it their all. Its natural and it will take time. These girls have set the platform. They have opened a lot of channels for women's cricket. They should be proud.
"As a captain I am very proud. I have seen the changes the girls have made. I've seen the transition. The team still looks very confident they will be a team that other teams will be looking out for. That's what I'm proud of. We started off well. We had a few matches in which
we were defeated and we came back stronger. Unlike 2005, this went to the end. The girls gave their best."
Without taking any names, Mithali said the middle and lower order had not been able to handle the pressure of the chase.
"The last four or five batters could not handle the pressure," Mithali said. "At one point, the game was in the balance. That is when we didn't hold our nerve. Their bowling and fielding was really up.
"We messed it up in the end. It was a very brave innings from Punam [Raut]. It's about experience and how composed you are. The girls weren't experienced enough to do it. But the way they have fought all along the tournament is very heartwarming. The Indian women's team has a very bright future."
Indian skipper Mithali Raj react after losing the ICC Women's World Cup final to England at Lord's in London, UK, on Sunday