Considered to be the Sachin Tendulkar of Indian women's cricket team, Mithali Raj announced her retirement from the T20 international format on Tuesday. Having cemented her position as the country's leading run-scorer in all formats, the 36-year-old called it quits after a controversy-struck final few years.
Saying she wanted to focus on her ODI career more due to the upcoming 2021 World Cup, Mithali's decision is likely to bring the team management some peace of mind. Mithali was eager to play the T20 home series against South Africa but was clearly not an automatic choice. Mithali Raj has been under pressure for quite sometime due to her strike-rate in the T20 format. She was even dropped in the semifinal match of the 2018 T20 World Cup.
Mithali has captained India in 32 T20Is, including three World Cups 2012, 2014, 2016). Mithali played 89 T20s, scoring 2364 runs packed with 17 half-centuries. Making her T20 International debut in 2006 against England, Mithali is also the first Indian woman cricketer to reach the landmark of 2000 runs in T20s.
Here's some of Mithali's top T20 international knocks:
5. 97* Vs Malaysia - June 3, 2018
Although her 97 (not out) knock against Malaysia in the Asia Cup was against a much-less fancied opponent, it is still Mithali's highest-ever T20 International score. She has never reached a century in Twenty20 Internationals. Mithali reached her highest score in this format off 69 deliveries at a strike rate of 140.57. She also slammed 13 fours and a six.
Also, it is worth noting that she opened her side's batting and remained unbeaten, helping India set a 170-run target. Malaysia were all out at 27 in 13.4 overs, losing by 142 runs.
4. 73* Vs Pakistan - December 4, 2016
Opening for India once again in the Asia Cup Vs Pakistan, Mithali hit an unbeaten 73-run knock off 65 balls at a strike-rate of 112.30. Her innings helped her side set a target of 122. Pakistan managed 104/6 in 20 overs.
Mithali's innings consisted of seven fours and a six. Declared as the player of the match, the 'Donald Bradman' of women's cricket led India majestically against their arch-rivals.
3. 55* Vs Bangladesh - March 9, 2014
Playing in Cox's Bazaar, Mithali opened for her side and remained unbeaten on 55 with four boundaries. Although, she had a relatively strike-rate of 85.93, her performance was enough for India to set a 102 target. Bangladesh scored 85 in 20 overs.
2. 51 Vs West Indies - January 24, 2011
Coming into bat at No. 3, Mithali rescued India in a match where openers Punam Raut and Amita Sharma were dismissed cheaply early on. Mithali registered 51 runs off 46 balls (110.86 SR), hitting three fours. Her knock was enough for her side to reach 128/5. India won the match by 15 runs.
1. 76* Vs South Africa - February 16, 2018
In India's tour of South Africa, Mithali anchored the chase after South Africa set a target of 142 runs. She slammed a brilliant 76 and her partnership with Smriti Mandhana helped India carve out a nine-wicket win with five balls remaining. En route to her 76 (strike-rate: 124.59), Mithali smashed eight fours.