ICC Women's World Cup: Mithali proud of India, thanks fans after loss vs SA
South Africa defeated India by three wickets
India are eliminated from the ICC Women's World Cup
Australia, South Africa, England and West Indies will battle in the semifinals
Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, both 39 years old, might have played their last World Cup game when India were defeated by South Africa on Sunday. With the loss, the team was knocked out of the tournament and will not be able to make it to the semi-finals stage.
Speaking after the loss, skipper Raj said that she is proud of the team for coming so far.
"I personally feel the girls gave it all, it was an important game, was a good game, it ended our campaign, but I'm proud of the girls for coming so far," Mithali Raj said.
In a must-win league game, Smriti Mandhana (71), Shafali Verma (53) and skipper Mithali Raj (68) struck half-centuries, helping India to reach 274 runs.
However, some average bowling and fielding by the Indians helped South Africa get close to the target. They needed seven runs in the last over. A well-set Mignon du Preez was caught in the deep off the penultimate ball by Deepti Sharma, raising hopes of a memorable win for India. Moments later the umpires ruled that Sharma had overstepped.
South Africa then finished the game comfortably.
Mithali Raj said that the team needed the experience of Jhulan Goswami in the must-win game. India's most successful bowler missed the match with a side strain.
"With the bowlers we had, I thought 275 was a good total, we had defended similar totals in the past. Her experience (on missing Jhulan Goswami) would have added a lot, but this was an exposure for the other girls to step up," Raj added.
She further thanked the fans for the support.
"Everything should come to an end, it'll take time to settle the emotions, but that is sport. Thanks to everyone who turned out for every Indian game, it was nice to hear your cheers and keep supporting the girls and the Indian women's team in the future."