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First World Cup Final For The Women In Blue

On 10th April 2005 Indian women’s cricket team played their first World Cup Final against four times champion- Australia.

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Last updated: 10.04.2019
First Women World Cup Final 2005

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In the early 2000s, Indian women’s team did not have the fan-following like the current team. There used to be occasional good performances and the team had few key players like Anjum Chopra, Neetu David, Jhulan Goswami, and Mithali Raj. They finished in the semi-finals for the World Cups in 1997 and 2000.

In the 2005 World Cup, the team was a good mix of experienced and young players led by the 23-year-old batter Mithali Raj. The World Cup was happening in South Africa where in 2003 Indian men’s team performed admirably to reach the final but faltered in the final against a very strong Australian team. The women’s team surely hoped for taking that extra step and getting the trophy.

The tournament was an eight-team affair with each team playing each other in the group stage followed by semi-final and final. It was a rain-affected tournament with as many as eight matches getting abandoned due to rain.

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India managed to win four matches and a special win against England, thanks to Jhulan’s four-wicket spell was a great performance. Their matches against Sri Lanka and Australia were abandoned and their only loss came against the New Zealand women’s team. They finished in the second position after Australia and qualified for a semi-final clash against the Kiwis. This time the Eves did better against the White Ferns as Mithali delivered a masterful 91 and 3-wicket spell each from Amita Sharma and Nooshin Al Khadeer resulted in an easy win for Indian eves.

On 10th April 2005 Indian women’s team stepped foot in Centurion to play their first World Cup final. The opponent Australia was already four times champion. They won the toss and elected to bat first. Jhulan and Amita got two early wickets including the Australian captain, experienced Belinda Clarke. At 31/2, they hoped for more inroads but Karen Rolton after some early jitters played a brilliant inning to score an impressive century. Mel Jones and Lisa Sthalekar provided good support with the later scoring a half-century of her own.

With a target of 216 for their maiden World Cup title, Indian team did not have a good start. The openers were gone before the team total reached 40. Anjum Chopra and Mithali Raj were India’s main hopes but with the score on 54 Chopra were run out and five runs later Mithali was given LBW which was a dicey call by the umpire. In total there were four run-outs in the Indian innings and despite some late fight from India’s new ball pair Jhulan and Amita, the chase was never on. India finally succumbed to 117 and gave Australia a 98 runs win for their 5th title.

Despite the loss, it was a milestone for Indian women’s cricket. The confidence they got helped them to become stronger and they managed to win their first test series in England in the next summer.


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