India won the series 3-0, but it was Deepti Sharma who got all the attention.
It was so moving that it made my skin crawl. When Indian cricket icon Jhulan Goswami walked out to bat at Lord’s for the last time, she was greeted by the entire England fielding team, the umpires, and her batting partner, Deepti Sharma.
We had no idea that Deepti would play such a crucial part in Goswami’s final chapter.
Goswami’s farewell was guaranteed to be talked about for more than just the sport’s goodbye to a champion when Deepti, who had scored an unbeaten half-century to drag her side to a respectable total from 29 for 4, ran out Charlie Dean while backing up on the last ball of the match to seal victory for India and a 3-0 ODI series sweep.
Goswami waved humbly to all of them as she passed through the first honor guard, clearly enjoying the attention. The fact that Goswami was bowled trying to drive at a fuller delivery that slashed back in from 17-year-old seamer Freya Kemp, who wasn’t even born when Goswami made her international debut, didn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. However, Goswami’s batting was not the main attraction.
The fact that she was one of five Indian players to leave the batting without a run was likely significant, given that the team only scored 169 runs before being bowled out in the 46th over. Again, Dean’s magnificent 47 at No. 9 brought England within 17 runs of their objective.
Another guard of honour from her own team followed Goswami almost all the way to the pitch as she walked out to bowl.
— Jhulan Goswami (@JhulanG10) September 25, 2022
Her first over was a maiden, and at the end of her second, India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who made her debut when Goswami was in her shoes in 2009, ran by to give her a pat on the back. Harmanpreet seemed to want to savor their closeness for as long as possible.
At the pre-game presentation to their cherished stalwart, Hamanpreet stood close by as Goswami contested the toss and embraced her old captain in a heartfelt embrace.
Only when she was in the deep backward square leg did Goswami get any time to herself. While she was at the pinnacle of her achievement, everyone’s attention was focused on her.
When Goswami had Alice Capsey simply nabbed by Harleen Deol at the cover point, those eyes shifted to her teammates and the joyful screams of the 15,187-strong crowd.
Goswami took out Cross while playing across a full, straight one, and her teammates embraced her with a smile as wide as a child’s as she was ushered off the court.
England’s score was now 39 for 3, with Renuka Singh responsible for two of the wickets that had previously fallen (Emma Lamb and Tammy Beaumont; Beaumont had mentioned on the eve of her 100th ODI that she had contributed significantly to Goswami’s record 255 ODI wickets).
Out of Beaumont’s total of 20 dismissals in this format versus India, eight had come at the hands of Goswami before this encounter. However, it was Renuka who struck this time, bowling Beaumont with an off-length delivery that curved in and crashed into the top of off stump.
Renuka, like Kate Cross before her, threatened to spoil Goswami’s party by finding the strong movement of the seam bowling down the slope from the Pavilion End, where she eventually took 4 for 26.
To everyone’s surprise, this turned out to be a common thread between Cross and Goswami, with Renuka (in her eighth ODI at age 26) offering an epilogue that hinted at the next edition just as the previous one closed.
This day was also significant for Cross because it was the last time Lord’s hosted a women’s international after she was left off England’s World Cup squad in 2017 and watched from the stands as the hosts overcame India in a thriller.
At one time, she had 3 for 3 in 3.2 overs, which meant she had dismissed the top four Indian batters. It brought to mind Cross’ game-winning performance in June of last year when Taunton faced off against the same opponents. Cross, though, clinched her perfect day by hitting five home runs in a game they ultimately won. As England’s batting struggled, it appeared that India would have their day.
When England were 53 for 6, Goswami caught Sophie Ecclestone lbw off Rajeshwari Gayakwad with a low catch at slip. When the hosts were 111 for 8, Harmanpreet sent Goswami back into the attack, and she only gave up two runs in her eighth over.
A maiden followed, and then, with just five balls remaining to bowl in her spectacular international career, she removed Cross playing across a full, straight one. This was Goswami’s 10,001st ODI delivery, and her teammates mobbed her as she smiled like a child.
At the end of the over, when four dot balls had been bowled, we were once again surrounded. Goswami got her hands to an edge at slip-off Dean on the very next ball from Deepti, but the final wicket and a fairytale finish were lost.
Even after Goswami’s dismissal, India looked like they still had a chance to win, since England still required 52 runs from 13.5 overs with only one wicket in hand.
Tense moments followed as Dean and Freya Davies dug in for 35 runs. So it came as a bit of a surprise that the ending would become its defining characteristic. A roar of both boos and cheers greeted the finish of the game, despite the fact that Dean’s ejection was legal under the rules.
Dean, tears running down her cheeks, slammed her bat on the ground before gathering herself and approaching the Indian group to shake their hands. In a moment of lovely joy that couldn’t quite conceal a little bitter undertone, Goswami was wheeled to the edge of the field to run a lap of honour while carrying the Indian flag and surrounded by her teammates.