Mithali Raj is a certified legend of the women’s cricket game. The 35-year-old already has plenty of records to her name. Mithali is the only cricketer to go past 6000 runs in ODIs and is fourth in the all-time list when it comes to number of centuries in ODIs. Her average of 51 even after playing for 20 years is testament to her consistency. Ahead of the Hamilton ODI against the White Ferns, Mithali entered another exclusive club and enhanced her legendary status. The Hamilton ODI will be Mithali’s 200th game as a player, making her the first woman cricketer to enter this special club.
Mithali’s 200th ODI puts her way ahead of the next player in the list, who is Charlotte Edwards of England who has played 191 ODIs. Mithali had broken Edwards’ record during the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017 in England. Jhulan Goswami, Mithali’s team-mate who has also played for 17 years, is next in the list with 174 ODIs.
India have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series against New Zealand. In the first match, Smriti Mandhana blasted a century to help India chase down 193 in Napier as they won the match by nine wickets. In the second ODI, New Zealand were again bowled out for 161 and Mandhana showed her class again with a brilliant, unbeaten 90 and Mithali gave her good company to smash a brilliant 63. India won a one-off ODI in New Zealand in 1994 but this is the first time that India Women would have won a bilateral series in New Zealand.
Recently, India women’s cricket team was plagued by a spat between Mithali and Harmanpreet Kaur as the veteran was left out of the crucial Twenty20 semi-final encounter against England in the West Indies. Ramesh Powar, who was the coach at that time, had said Mithali was ‘aloof’ and ‘difficult to handle’. Mithali’s manager called Harmanpreet ‘undeserving’ as a captain and accused her of being a liar. However, Mithali said she has moved on and under a new coach WV Raman, Indian cricket would be aiming to make good strides.