London, July 23: Praising the England players for winning their fourth World Cup title, India skipper Mithali Raj rued that the inexperience of her teammates and their inability to hold their nerves during the crucial moments proved to be the difference between the two teams in the final.
India suffered a spectacular middle and lower order batting collapse to lose by nine runs to England in a nail-biting final of the ICC Women’s World Cup at the Lords cricket ground here on Sunday.
“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.
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.
Punam and Harmanpreet added 95 runs between them in 128 balls and helped to steady the Indian innings following the loss of two early wickets.
However, the Indian eves seemed to los their wits towards the end, losing seven wickets for just 28 runs to be all out for 219 runs in 48.4 overs.
Mithali however, praised the Indian players for their performance and blamed inexperience for their inability to win the maiden women’s World Cup for India. She also picked out veteran pacer veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami for special praise for her performance throughout the tournament.
Jhulan bowled well in the final, picking up three crucial wickets while conceeding just 23 runs in her 10 overs.
“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.
“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.