‘Spike got stuck in the pitch’ – Mithali Raj

Mithali Raj’s run-out during India’s loss in the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday was among the many moments that were touted as turning points in the match. The manner of her dismissal, though, gained attention in particular. Raj had sprinted most of the way while trying to steal a single, but slowed down in the final quarter of the pitch. She barely grounded her bat as wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor whipped the bails off.

The on-air commentators had speculated that she might not have wanted the run in the first place – that she was caught in two minds, and the consequent “giving up” was a sign of exasperation. However, in an interview with the Times of India, Raj clarified that she lost momentum because of a spike getting stuck in the pitch.

“I saw some weird stuff written about my run-out on social media,” Raj told the newspaper. “Actually, what happened was my spike got stuck on the pitch. Punam [Raut] called me for a run and I responded. Before I reached the half way, this thing [spike getting stuck] happened, and I don’t think the TV cameras captured it. I couldn’t push myself hard and couldn’t even make an effort to dive. I was helpless. I was gutted.”

Raj’s wicket had reduced India to 43 for 2, and although a 95-run stand for the third wicket between Raut and Harmanpreet Kaur steadied their chase of 229 against England, India fell agonisingly short.

“After the loss of two early wickets, we were cruising with two partnerships that Punam built with Harman and Veda [Krishnamurthy],” Raj said. “But then we lost our way. I had my hopes till Shikha [Pandey] got run-out. I think it was the inexperience of playing on such a big stage on such a big occasion.”

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