So close, yet so far.” Probably that is exactly what Mithali Raj and her girls must have felt when team India fell short of lifting the world cup trophy by 9 runs while chasing the target of 229 set by England here at the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground yesterday. The fact that there were no empty seats in Lord’s yesterday is in itself a testimony to the fact that the girls, be it from India or England, will now find their names written in golden word in the books of history of this game which is essentially still a male dominated one
Although the Indian ladies did not have the last laugh, their humongous effort to reach the finale of the global tourney has truly ensured that they now own 1.3 billion hearts and Bollywood stars too could not help but become the fan of these ladies, who were written off as underdogs before the championship started. After the match, Bollywood star Amitabh Bacchan tweeted, “Until you lose, you shall never know the joy of victory! Well played ladies….Bhartiya Nari Zindabad!”
Back home, every cricket lover glued to their TV sets yesterday and for each and every women of this country, who have no other choice but to live under the shadow of their male counterparts, the Rajs, the Rauts, the Kaurs, the Sharmas and the Goswamis rejuvenated their half dead will of being seen as equal if not better than men. Had the ladies lifted the trophy yesterday, it would not only have been a victory for the team but in reality, it would have lifted the spirit of uncountable Indian women who desperately seek for a face that represents their struggle and their will to succeed.
Epitomizing the determination that Indian ladies are known for, the journey to the final of the World Cup is in itself a source inspiration. It’s hard to find a person who believed that team India could make it to the final. For the girls, the battle began in Sri Lanka as they had to play the qualifiers in the island nation for cementing their spot in the world cup. Known for active feminism, Priyanka Chopra tweeted, “Well played Women In Blue, it’s been an incredible journey and you will always be an inspiration for girls across India.”
After losing the toss India did a fantastic job of restricting the English to 228, thanks to the performance of Jhulan Goswami (2/23) and Poonam Yadav (2/36). While chasing, although India lost Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj early, the partnership between Puman Raut (86) and Harmanpreet Kaur (51) filled Indian fans with hope. Even after the fall of Harmanpreet, Veda Krishnamurthy and Raut looked in full control but the latter’s dismissal at the score of 191triggered the fall of a cluster of wickets and India were reduced to 218/8 from 191/3.
Till Deepti Sharma, who looked as cool as a cucumber, Indians still fancied their chance. India required 11 of 12 balls. But with Deepti Sharma walking back after chipping the ball in the air which was caught at mid-on by Natalie Sciver on the bowling of Anya Shrubsole, the last nail in India’s coffin was struck. Poonam Yadav added another run before R Gayakwad’s stumps were shattered by Shrubsole.
As far as B-Town presence in the final is concerned, Akshay Kumar was the sole representative who later tweeted, “Even broken hearts can laugh! These women have started a revolution and I couldn’t be more proud.”
The Aashiqui 2 famed actress Shraddha Kapoor tweeted, “It’s OK team India. You girls made it to the finals!!! That in itself is such a proud moment. #WomensWorldCup2017 Girl power all the way.”
“This team has woken us all up to women’s cricket in India. Great game girls. Almost had it,” wrote Shahid Kapoor on his twitter handle.