ICC Women’s World Cup 2022: Jhulan Goswami’s Absence Cost India Against South Africa, Feels Mithali Raj

India lost to South Africa in the final round-robin game in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 to exit the tournament. India finish fifth with three wins from seven games.

India women's wait for maiden Cricket World Cup title continues.

India captain Mithali Raj believed the absence of veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami made the difference in their last-ball loss against South Africa in the final round-robin game of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 in Christchurch on Sunday.

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The three-wicket defeat also ended India’s chances of making it through the semifinals of the mega showpiece as the Women in Blue ended their campaign fifth with four losses in seven games. Australia, South Africa, West Indies and England qualified for the knockouts.

Mithali felt sorry for Goswami as she missed out on a crucial match due to a side strain before the game. In the absence of Goswami, India failed to give early breakthroughs as South Africa made it easy in the end. 

“I'm sure she would have made a difference, with so many years of experience playing different teams and different surfaces, similar pressure situations,” Mithali said after the game. “Having a senior player like her to lead the bowling attack clearly would have made a difference.

Batting first, India put on 274/7 on the back of half-centuries from Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Mithali Raj and a useful 48 from Harmanpreet Kaur. In reply, the bowlers did a splendid job to take the game till the last over.

“But having said that, I'm sure she might be feeling very disappointed that in the last game of the Indian team she could not be part of. But then that’s how it is. She had a side strain during the training session and she couldn't recover.

With seven needed in the final over, Deepti Sharma dismissed a well-stelled Mignon du Preez but it turned out to be a no-ball as South Africa dashed opposition hopes. A win for India would have sent them to the last four.  

“I really wanted to win this game so that we could give her another game to play the semi-final,” Mithali rued. The India captain had several times questioned the inconsistencies in the batting department during the initial phases of the tournament.

Asked about if it’s the right time to make wholesome changes, Mithali denied. “It's important that you don't take any step right now. You allow the team to process what has happened and maybe with time you know, the management, the Board, the selectors will look into it,” she said.  

Despite the loss, Mithali talked about the positives from the tournament. “Of course it is disappointing for all of us. But moving forward, we have very talented youngsters in the side. And I'm sure, in the coming tournaments we will have a very strong side and play well.” 

“A lot of good things have come out of the tournament like we've got Yastika. Shafali has started scoring runs. The spinners have done well. There are areas we need to work on moving forward. But overall, we could have done better and in initial phases of tournament. But, future definitely looks bright,” she concluded.