Mithali Raj, who led Indian Women’s cricket team to the World Cup finals, blamed the inexperience of her teammates and their inability to hold their nerves during the crucial moments for the loss against England during the ICC Women’s World Cup at the Lords cricket ground in London on July 24. Mithali Raj, however, praised the England players for winning their fourth World Cup title. India suffered a spectacular middle and lower order batting collapse to lose by nine runs to England in a nail-biting final

“It wasn’t easy for England but credit to them for holding their nerve. There was as time when the match was in the balance and could have gone either way. But that was the situation when we panicked and they came out victorious. England did well in those crunch moments which turned the game,” Mithali said at the post match presentation.

Mithali also praised her teammates for their superb performance during the tournament.

“I want to tell my girls that I am very proud of them, the way made a comeback into the tournament. They didn’t make any match easy for any of the other teams. I would also like to thank the crowds for coming up in large numbers to support women’s cricket,” she said.

Electing to bat first, England produced a competitive total of 228 for seven in their 50 overs.

The Indian eves rode on half-centuries from opener Punam Raut and Harmanpreet Kaur to almost overhauling the target. Punam scored 86 runs off 115 balls while Harmanpreet scored 51 off 80.

However, Indian batting collapsed as they lost seven wickets for just 28 runs to be all out for 219 runs in 48.4 overs.

During the post match presentation, Mithali also picked out veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami, who picked up three crucial wickets while conceeding just 23 runs in her 10 overs during the finals, for special praise for her performance throughout the tournament.

“Jhulan is an experienced bowler and has always delivered when the team required and give her best performance. Her bowling spell could have turned into a match winning one but I knew England had a lot of depth in their batting.

“Our team was bit inexperienced as they playing their first World Cup final. But I think all the youngsters tried their best. I think this experience will help them in the future,” she added.

“Jhulan has had an excellent career, very long and inspirational for young cricketers. I am sure people at home would now look up to women cricketers.”

The Indian captain also said that she will retire before the next World Cup in 2021.

“I do see myself playing for a couple of years but I don’t see myself playing another World Cup,” she said.