On this day in 2005: India became the first Asian side to reach Women’s WC final

18 years ago, on this day, Mithali Raj led the Indian side into the team’s first-ever World Cup final to script history as India became the first Asian side to reach the summit clash of the global tournament. Though the Women in Blue could not win the game and lost against the dominant Australians, the day indeed was special for the team.

India finished in the second spot in the points table to make it to the semi-finals and defeated New Zealand in their penultimate game to make it to the summit clash. It was a high-pressure game as India had to take on the in-form Australian side, who had topped the points table without suffering a single defeat in the league stage.

Australian skipper Belinda Clark won the toss and elected to bat first. The Indian bowlers did well as they restricted their opposition to just 215/4 in the first innings. Though the Women in Blue failed to pick many wickets as Jhulan Goswami, Amita Sharma, Rumeli Dhar, and Neetu David picked up one wicket each but restricted Australia to a manageable total.

After a fine bowling display, the Indian bowlers failed to make the most out of the game as the Australian bowlers proved why they were a formidable force. Four Indian batters were run-out during the chase while the Australian bowlers picked up the remaining six wickets in no time. The Indian side kept going in the game even after losing multiple wickets but not many runs were added to the scorecard.

Eventually, the Mithali Raj-led side was dismantled for a paltry 117 while chasing the 216-run target and Australia won the championship by a whopping 98 runs. The loss surely was bitter, but the entire Indian side got an opportunity to be a part of the historic game and the World Cup final of 2005 was a learning for the next generation as the Indian team, now under the leadership of Harmanpreet Kaur, has grown as a force to reckon with.