India gifted the Women’s Cricket World Cup to England: Punam Raut
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India gifted the Women’s Cricket World Cup to England: Punam Raut

India opener Punam Raut feels the team gifted the Women’s Cricket World Cup to England, having taken charge of the Lord’s final during her knock of 86.

cricket Updated: Jul 26, 2017 20:44 IST
Women's Cricket World Cup,ICC Women's World Cup,Punam Raut
Punam Raut top-scored for India in the Women's Cricket World Cup final against England at Lord's cricket ground in London on July 23.(AFP)

It was mixed feelings for the Indian women’s cricket team opener Punam Raut after the ICC World Cup journey came to an agonising end on Sunday.

When the Indian team kicked off their campaign against England on June 24, Raut slammed a match-winning 86 to help stun the hosts by 35 runs. A month later, England avenged that loss at Lord’s in the World Cup final, after Raut fell for the same score. This time, however, India fell short by nine runs.

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A cramping Raut brought her team close to the finish line, but the moment she was dismissed, the wall was breached and the team collapsed, India losing the last seven wickets for 28 runs.

It was an emotional night for Raut. “It was very difficult to sleep that night. We were in the hotel, all alone and there were too many thoughts running in my mind. I later told myself that whatever happens, it does for the good. There could be something better in store for us in the future. I was analysing what we could have done better and why this situation developed. I tried to think about all the positive things that had happened and how to make sure it continued.

India seemed to have a firm grip on the World Cup during Raut’s 95-run partnership for the third wicket with Harmanpreet Kaur. Despite Kaur’s dismissal, the hopes were intact with Raut and Veda Krishnamurthy stitching a 53-run stand for the fourth wicket.

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Chance frittered away

From a strong situation, Raut felt the team ‘gifted’ the World Cup to England.

“I never thought we would come this close after we lost those two early wickets. But I had a good partnership with Harman and that gave us the confidence to win. We were still positive we would pull through when Veda was there. We also had a good partnership. There was no such pressure till then as we had enough balls to score those runs. Unfortunately, after I got out, Veda probably felt the pressure and played that shot.

“That’s the beauty of this game. Anything can happen till the last moment. It was difficult to accept that defeat as the match was totally in our control. It was a dream to win the World Cup. It was like we gifted the World Cup to them (England),” she said.

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“Cramps came at the wrong time. No one can predict such a thing. When you are playing a high intensity game, it happens due to pressure,” Raut told Hindustan Times after arriving in her hometown on Wednesday with the rest of the Mithali Raj-led squad.

Raut finished as the tournament’s fifth highest scorer, with 381 runs in nine matches. She was India’s second best, after skipper Mithali Raj’s 409 runs.

First Published: Jul 26, 2017 20:44 IST