India v Sri Lanka, Women's World Cup 2013, Mumbai

An off day for all - Mithali

Abhishek Purohit in Mumbai

February 5, 2013

Comments: 24 | Text size: A | A

Sri Lanka's Eshani Kaushalya scored a quick 56, India v Sri Lanka, Women's World Cup 2013, Group A, Mumbai, February 5, 2013.
Sri Lanka's batsmen pummelled India's bowlers, all of whom seemed to perform below par © ICC/Solaris Images
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Players/Officials: Mithali Raj
Series/Tournaments: ICC Women's World Cup
Teams: India

India captain Mithali Raj could barely bring herself to speak at the post-match press conference. Surely it couldn't have ended so soon for the Women's World Cup hosts. It wasn't even a week since the tournament started, and they were already out, going down to defending champions England and shocked by unfancied Sri Lanka. India had been knocked out of the 2007 men's World Cup by Sri Lanka too, an exit their captain MS Dhoni calls a bigger setback than the recent home and away Test series losses.

There was a catch in Raj's voice as she spoke at the post-match presentation. Sitting in the chair in the media room later, she stared vacantly, head tilted upwards, as journalists walked in. She continued to stare in space for a few seconds after the first question was asked. Finally, she found her voice, saying she had never thought Sri Lanka would make as many as 282, after they chose to bat.

"I think honestly 280 is something I didn't expect Sri Lanka to score with the kind of bowling attack we had," Raj said. "When you chase a big total it is very important to have a very good start. We lost a quick wicket and then as we built a bit of partnership between me and Thrirush Kamini, we intended it to go big. After me, we lost Harmanpreet Kaur. I think the top three batsmen below 50 runs, that is where I thought the match is going to be tight."

Though India were chasing 283, getting to 251 would have sufficed to take them to the Super Six on a better net run-rate than West Indies. Raj said India wanted to go for the win initially. "Our first intention when we went in to bat was to chase 280 but as we lost wickets that definitely was playing in the minds of the batsmen who were going in. All of them were aware of the 251 target."

Against England as well as Sri Lanka, India's bowlers went for a lot of runs, conceding 272 and 282. Raj said she hadn't expected her entire attack to have an off day and felt they had given Sri Lanka too much width. "The Sri Lankans scored most of their runs square of the wicket. That itself shows as a bowler, where you are bowling. All the bowlers were off colour today. I guess we can expect one or two to be off colour but not all of them. I won't say it was complacency [against Sri Lanka] but I had a lot of faith in my bowlers. Against England also we gave extra runs in the last session and today we gave too many runs after the second Powerplay."

Even Jhulan Goswami , India's most successful and the second-most successful ODI bowler, conceded 63 runs. Raj defended her premier bowler, saying she could not be expected to deliver every time. "It's not that one player performs each and every day. She has done well against West Indies and England. But I didn't expect the other bowlers to have an off day too. There is one bowler you watch for and if that bowler may not get the right line and length on that day that doesn't mean she has let me down. She has won many games for India. I don't think she has let me down."

Raj said she was disappointed for having failed as captain to take India to the next stage of the tournament but not for having failed as a batsman with scores of 8 and 20 against England and Sri Lanka. "As a player there are fluctuations in sports. Sometimes you are very good, sometimes you don't take off. As a player I don't think too much into it."

While Raj felt India had fielded "very well" in the tournament, she also saw potential in India's young players. "I really cannot talk about the future but there are a lot of positives we can take from the young players like Thirush Kamini, Poonam Raut, Harmanpreet Kaur and Karu Jain. It is very disappointing to be out of the tournament as the host team. But I am sure in the future these girls will perform well for India."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Ananth83 on (February 7, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

Agree with someone who pointed out that dropping Niranjana was a blunder. For the last 10 games, this lady has not had a single game where she went wicketless. Even now against Pakistan she has picked up 3 wickets for 35 runs. Her replacement S Sharma was pathetic giving away 52 runs in 9 overs with no wickets and has played only 2 ODI's before the SL game. I believe this made a huge difference in the outcome of the match as we were under immense pressure when we started batting with a 280+ to chase and we have never chased beyond 230 ever.

Posted by Nampally on (February 6, 2013, 20:31 GMT)

Mithali Raj, your team scored their highest total in their first game & gave the least runs to the opposition. By the time the 3rd game was played, India progressively scored less runs & gave away more runs to a highest total of 282!. The team ability/intensity decreased both in bowling & batting as the tourney progressed - the opposite is the Norm. Was it due to lack of stamina & endurance? I still feel in Goewami, Niranjana, & the 2 Sharma + Bisht, India has good bowling. Sultana is a good bowler but should push the ball little faster to nearly 80 KPH to be effective. On the Mumbai wkt. you do not pitch away but on the stumps all the time. India did this very well especially Goswami & Niranjana in the first match but then moved away from it. In batting, leave the wide balls alone & get one extra run + extra ball. India failed to do so.Running betwn. the wkts. was poor with no calls. Batsmen need to be patient. Runs will come the longer you play. Good luck against Pakistan.

Posted by CaptainKool on (February 6, 2013, 18:09 GMT)

That's why I have always said, never underestimate any team and don't let your words speak louder than your action. Remember your comments on England bowlers before match?

Posted by CricketMaan on (February 6, 2013, 13:49 GMT)

You may have been offcolor, but you were outplayed thoroughly Raj. that is the truth. As an Indian fan i wanted you to win, but SL has shown its neither money or power rather determination and hunger that wins games. Nevertheless you may still would have not made Semis given that Aus, Eng, NZ are gauranteed. On the other hand BCCI has to be blamed, the last time Indian women played a ODI series was way back in July 2012. Now i suppose there will be a few more Ind-SL women series to avenge this

Posted by Yarms on (February 6, 2013, 5:20 GMT)

This is SL coming of age.. a repeat of 1996... What thyem win the WWC 2013. As an Indina supporter I'm sad to see India knocked out but the betterteam wone on the day.

Posted by krishkrish on (February 6, 2013, 4:43 GMT)

I dont think we deserve to be in Super six.... M Raj made big mistake by leaving out Niranjana.. she s expensive but picks up 2-3 wickets.. she is our highest wicket-taker in this WC. Our gals are very weak , they cant clear boundaries frequently. Kaur played a blinder of innings against ENG ,with all elegant strokes...

Posted by ArmChairUmpire on (February 6, 2013, 4:14 GMT)

Once again, I am disappointed by this Indian captain. I hope future captains and players learn from the humility of players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Darren Sammy, Alistair Cook and Hashim Amla. Their game speaks for them. They do not need loud words or excuses to describe their games. It would have been truly appropriate if Ms Raj had accepted the defeat with grace and commended the Sri Lankan team upon their victory.

Posted by fjurang on (February 6, 2013, 3:36 GMT)

Madam its not off day, your team was simply outplayed in all departments. Admit that you have been beaten by a superior team who are just babes in the game of cricket in Sri Lanka.

Posted by PadMarley on (February 6, 2013, 3:16 GMT)

"Our first intention when we went in to bat was to chase 280 but as we lost wickets that definitely was playing in the minds of the batsmen who were going in. All of them were aware of the 251 target." Batsmen?? Looks like we all are still getting used to the concept of women's cricket :-)

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (February 6, 2013, 2:59 GMT)

SK5983 not sure how it was an off day for England, defo for India who now have a 50:50 chance of coming 8th out of 8. ps. If this event was in England it would be well supported because women are treated as equals in England (tis the culture and law).

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 6, 2013, 2:36 GMT)

@KingOwl & other gloaters: India has produced plenty of great bowlers, learn your history. This "punching above their weight" tag is conveniently used by the likes of SL and NZ. Regardless of a country's size, only 11 can play. As for SL, they conceded a staggering 380 in only their last game against WI, this win against India is their 1st ever, hardly a proud record. Let's see what they achieve in the Super 6's, good luck to them but don't pat yourself on the back in full public display after just one win, it's unedifying.

Posted by zenboomerang on (February 6, 2013, 2:32 GMT)

A bit sad to see India knocked out as I thought their team was performing well early, but an off day for all the bowlers sounds like poor management / coaching... It seems both Ind & Eng under-estimated SL, something I don't think Oz or NZ will fall for in their games...

Posted by spirit_cric on (February 6, 2013, 2:19 GMT)

This is a good lesson for all high ranked teams in any occation, "never underestimate any international team", IND did it against BAN in 2007 men's WC, they knocked out 1st round losing 2 SL, here again IND underestimeted SL, knocked out losing to SL.

Posted by StopSmoking on (February 6, 2013, 0:21 GMT)

I came to cricinfo comment section after many months just to post that I am very disappointed with this result. It was home ground and every facilities was provided for this team but still India manages to crash out early. Very ... very disappointed. I hope coach and BCCI make sure and look at what went wrong and what on earth is going on with this team!

Posted by Cricketluv on (February 5, 2013, 23:37 GMT)

I can still remember the spectators' banner the indians displayed when they had the Independence Cup some years back when Jayasuriya was the selector of Indian bowlers. It went on like this 'We have come to see our neighbours celebrating our independence'- Sri Lanka and Pakistan were playing the final. Such was the humour and verbal brilliance and wit my Indian friends can share. So don't panic. You are great nation that contributes much to this great game. We all have our day. Enjoy that day and let others to enjoy their day.

Posted by crkt4evr on (February 5, 2013, 23:09 GMT)

bad game but hats of to you people...we r proud of u n v r with u no matter what

Posted by Optic on (February 5, 2013, 23:01 GMT)

@KingOwl LOL so according to you England Ladies are only good because other teams don't take it seriously, really? it seems you know little of the history women's game. Anyway what's England got to do with anything, you sound very jealous with your silly unsubstantiated claims, why would England ladies be in the mediocre pack, what are you basing this off apart from you're own prejudices. At least wait till this SL team's actually achieved something before trying to give it the big one. Also what is it with people like you, you're country wins a game or two and you act like you've never won a thing in you're life, try to have a bit of class I know it's hard for you. So to elaborate my prediction is you will carry on posting rubbish on here no matter what the facts are and how many times you're wrong.

Posted by Batmanindallas on (February 5, 2013, 22:27 GMT)

Guess what Indian women cricketers are good at making excuses like men...

Posted by KP_84 on (February 5, 2013, 21:53 GMT)

Apart from the recent period under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, the Indian Men's team performed poorly under pressure. They used to lose almost every tournament final they played in. They bowed out of both the 2007 CW and the 2010 World T20 after losing to Sri Lanka. They say it's due to the pressure of representing more than a billion people. But then why aren't the Sri Lankans overwhelmed by the prospect of facing the cream of a crop number more than a billion? I suspect that it has more to do with a lack of self belief. MS Dhoni has instilled that self belief in his team. Their women's team needs to find an MS Dhoni.

Posted by   on (February 5, 2013, 21:49 GMT)

It was an off-day just like when ganguly said about Srinath and Zaheer having an off day in wc final in SA

Posted by QingdaoXI on (February 5, 2013, 19:43 GMT)

@KingOwl, it nice to to dream, ok, it was just a bad day for England and India day respectively, so lankan womens will be shown their place.

Posted by Baseball-Sucks on (February 5, 2013, 19:42 GMT)

"I think honestly 280 is something I didn't expect Sri Lanka to score with the kind of bowling attack we had," Raj said. Well, Mrs/Miss Raj, let this be a good lesson to you and all other Indian Cricketers, never underestimate your opponent , SPECIALLY WHEN YOU PLAY AGAINST SRI LANKA. :))

Posted by Secunderabadi on (February 5, 2013, 19:23 GMT)

Have no words to express my disbelief but then we failed to make it to the super six. Now we will wait to see if India can get the 7th position or not or will we have another batting failure and call it a day. How can fielding be good and still concede so many runs.

Women in India do not follow the WWC and now the few followers that it had will also drop off, hope I am proved wrong.

Posted by KingOwl on (February 5, 2013, 19:15 GMT)

Indian bowlers not doing well: Now, is that surprising? When did India produce great bowlers, ha? I think Indian women will be like Indian men, in time to come. They will be great flat track bullies, will be weak in bowling, and will collapse from time to time when chasing big targets, even on flat tracks. SL on the other hand, being a small country, will consistently punch above their weight, just like their men. To elaborate on my prediction, England will do well until other teams start taking the women's game seriously. When that finally happens, England will take their rightful place in the mediocre pack.

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