The first match of Challenger Trophy 2018 between India Red and India Blue saw a gritty knock from skipper Mithali Raj. It was a typical Mithali Raj innings which saw her pace initially and then tried to attack the bowlers towards the end. Mithali scored 72 runs from 92 balls with the help of 8 fours at a strike rate of 78.76.
She came to bat in the 12th over after Priya Punia’s wicket. As Mithali tried to pick up singles and rebuild the innings, she kept losing partners from the other end. Opener Deepti Sharma departed early on, followed by single digit scores from BS Fulmali and Neha Tanwar.
Mithali could not rake in a good strike as India Blue skipper Smriti Mandhana brought as many as eight fielders inside the circle to halt the easy singles. The 35-year-old shared a decent 61-run partnership for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper-batswoman Sushma Verma, who scored 30 runs from 54 balls with the help of 5 boundaries.
After Sushma’s wicket, Mithali was under extra pressure to increase the frequency of runs. Mithali went for a big shot dancing down the wicket but was deceived by the length of the ball from left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad. She got out in the 42nd over and missed out on a century in the opening match of the series.
Here’s how Twitterati reacted to Mithali’s knock –
#ChallengerTrophy – Game 1
India Red 199 all out (49.5)
M Raj 72
S Verma 30
D Sharma 29
R Gayakwad 2/23
R Yadav 2/29
— Women’s CricZone (@WomensCricZone) January 4, 2018
— Ninder Danodia(ND) (@NdDanodia) January 4, 2018
Finally Captain Out !!
An Excellent Knock Is Come To End
Excellent Bowling By R.Gayakwad
Mithali ; 72(92)runs
— Shalini S (@shalu943) January 4, 2018
72(92) What a knock Skipper @M_Raj03! You did so well. As expected from Mithali Raj!
— Jessy Rajkumari (@RajkumariJessy) January 4, 2018
Well Played Mithali Raj , Scored 72 Runs from 92 Balls & Helped Red to Get into the Manageable Total !
Well Played Captain pic.twitter.com/n9uW8vIPoM
— Johns (@CricCrazyJohns) January 4, 2018
Among these was a complaint as well. The match is streamed on HotStar and not telecasted on Star Sports.
The reason why maximum good women cricketers are unknown because match is not telecasted on TV in any star sports channel
— aap ka ayush chourey (@choureyayush) January 4, 2018
— Feisty Blue (@insane_h3art) January 4, 2018
Not matter what the conditions,
No matter what the situation
Be it a International games or domestic games, she always delivers. He never lose her calmness.
That’s the power & quality of Mithali Raj.
— . (@chiku_ravi) January 4, 2018
— Monica (@monicas004) January 4, 2018
Yet another stunning 50 by @M_Raj03.. consistency at its best…
— Wats in the name (@bipasha2430) January 4, 2018
The India Red innings could not pick up after Mithali’s wicket as they struggled to take singles, let alone score boundaries. A few runouts added to the pressure and as a result, they were bundled out for 199 in the first innings with 1 ball to spare.