Mithali Raj led India from the front with her third consecutive half-century (75*) to seal a thrilling victory in the third ODI against England women at Worcester on Saturday.
During the match, Raj also became the leading run-scorer in women's international cricket, going past former England captain Charlotte Edwards's 10,273 runs. She reached the milestone with a a boundary off Nat Sciver.
🙌 🙌#TeamIndia 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/VRUMcDofGe— BCCI (@BCCI) July 4, 2021
In a rain-curtailed match, India won the toss and restricted England for 219 in 47 overs. All Indian bowlers stayed among wickets but it was Deepti Sharma's 3/32 that proved pivotal in keeping the hosts in check.
Chasing 220 for the win, India lost Shafali Verma for 19 but Smriti Mandhana continued to mesmerize with her batting prowess. Her 57-ball 49 set the tone for the chase while Raj completed the mission with two 50-run stands along with Harmanpreet Kaur (16) and Sneh Rana (24) respectively in the middle order.
Watch the full match highlights:
(Video hosted by England & Wales Cricket Board)
There was a time when India needed 38 off the last 5 overs. However, Rana's brisk 22-ball 24, alongside Raj's level-headed batting rescued India from the tight spot. Needing six off the last over, Raj punished Katherine Brunt for a boundary to seal India's win. With the victory, India opened their account in the ODIs, having lost the first two matches and the series.
Following the win, Raj, who was adjudged the player of the match, told Sky Sports, "I never gave up in the middle. It's being in the middle, because you can't win the match sitting out in the dugout. I wanted to win the game for the team.
"I just needed to get the partnership to take it to the last. That's something that kept me going through the innings. I knew in the middle overs I could manage the game. When you have young players in the side, you need to guide them along, that's a responsibility."