Jhulan Goswami took 56 wickets in her T20I career. ©BCCI

Jhulan Goswami, the only Indian bowler with a five-wicket haul in all three formats of the game, retired from Twenty20 Internationals on Thursday (August 23), hours before the squad for the tour of Sri Lanka was announced. Whether a nudge was involved or not, it was another of those selfless decisions that defines Goswami’s personality.

Goswami is more comfortable in Tests and ODIs, but she owns some unique records in the shortest format too. Of her 56 wickets in 68 T20Is, 26 are bowled – the most by any bowler. Of her 225.1 overs, 14 are maiden – again the most in the world.

Poonam Yadav (53) and Ekta Bisht (50) will soon overtake her in the list of India’s wicket-takers, but her impact as a bowler and captain in the early T20 years will remain unmatched. She is also among the country’s top six run-getters in the format.

 

We look at her top seven T20I performances.

 

2 for 14 vs England, Derby, August 2006

Goswami delivered India’s first over in T20Is after Mithali Raj won the toss, and took only five balls to strike when she bowled Charlotte Edwards. She would go on to trouble Edwards, who she has dismissed the most number of times in international cricket, continuously through a memorable summer.

After Edwards left, Caroline Atkins, Goswami’s first wicket in international cricket way back in 2002, was caught behind as England became 26 for 4. Chasing 108 under floodlights, Rumeli Dhar’s unbeaten 69 as an opener and her 87-run stand with Mithali took India to victory in their maiden T20I with four balls to spare.

 

1 for 17 and 33* vs New Zealand, Aldershot, June 2011

Goswami had been India’s captain for almost three years by now, but barring semifinal appearances in the 2009 and 2010 World T20 and a third-place finish in the 2009 World Cup, there had been nothing much to show for. They lost all three games in the Quadrangular T20 Series before meeting New Zealand in the third-place play-off match.

Chasing 96, India became 47 for 4 when Goswami promoted herself to No.6 for the first time since May 2010. As the score became 73 for 7, she would have been reminded of a chase of 143 in a T20I against Australia in Sydney in October 2008 when she and Mithali had an unbroken stand of 60, but India still lost by two runs. This time she single-handedly took India home with a gritty unbeaten 28-ball 33 with a ball to spare. “If I had not taken the responsibility, the result may have been different,” Goswami said after the match.

India would finish third in the 50-over leg of the tournament also, and Goswami was sacked as captain after that. She led India only once after that – in a three-wicket win in a T20I against New Zealand in Bangalore in 2015 in place of an injured Mithali.

 

8* and 3 for 7 vs West Indies, North Sound, February 2012

This was India’s first assignment under their new captain Anjum Chopra since the Quadrangular Series in England. After failing to defend 101 the first T20I, Goswami’s run-a-ball 8 towards the end took India to 95 for 5 in the second T20I.

Carrying the confidence into the second half of the match, Goswami struck in the third over. With the ball moving around under lights, she got good support from Amita Sharma from the other end, and there were two run outs as West Indies collapsed. Goswami returned to dismiss Britney Cooper and the set Stacy-Ann King in her final over as West Indies were left needing 26 in 18 balls. The three-run win remains India’s narrowest win in terms of run-margin in T20Is.

 

5 for 11 vs Australia, Visakhapatnam, March 2012

Australia, in India for the first time since 2007, were ruthless in the ODI series, winning one match by 221 runs and clean sweeping the hosts 3-0. Injury had forced Goswami to miss third and fourth T20Is and India were 0-4 down in the five-match series. There were murmurs from outside about Goswami’s diminishing graph after ten years of fast bowling at the highest level. She silenced her critics with a sensational display, becoming the second Indian after Priyanka Roy (against Pakistan in June 2009) to record a five-wicket haul in the format.

She bowled Alyssa Healy and Lisa Sthalekar with the new ball, and then picked up three wickets in four balls as Australia were dismissed for 89 in 18.5 overs – their lowest score against India. It would be Chopra’s last international match, and the eight-wicket win was a perfect farewell gift from Goswami to her mentor from Air India and first India captain.

 

2 for 16 vs Australia, Melbourne, January 2016

The last time India were in Australia in 2009, Goswami was still the captain. This time around they made headlines by chasing down 141 in the first T20I in Adelaide. Goswami had bowled well in that match, and now India, who had been boosted by conversations with Virat Kohli and other men cricketers who were also playing the T20I series in the same venues as double-headers, had a rare chance of scripting their first-ever series win over Australia in any format. Goswami bowled superbly, dismissing Grace Harris with a beauty for the second time in as many matches and had Beth Mooney caught to give India early advantge. She bowled 14 dot balls and conceded just two fours, restricting Australia to 125 for 8. India won by ten wickets through the Duckworth Lewis method. It would be Goswami’s last player of the match performance in a T20I.

 

17 and 1 for 19 vs Pakistan, Bangkok, December 2016

Goswami had tried hard with the bat to beat West Indies in Mohali and take India to the 2016 World T20 semifinals, but had got run out in the dying stages of the match. A few months later her batting skills were needed once again as India became 89 for 4 against Pakistan in the televised Asia Cup final. Mithali was batting superbly at the other end, but needed support to post a competitive total.

Goswami rose to the occasion with a sensible knock of 17 as the duo added 31 crucial runs. She hit two sixes to ease the burden off Mithali, and got out going for her third hit over the fence off the penultimate ball of the innings. Then, she bowled the dangerous looking Ayesha Zafar – her 50th wicket in the format – to break Pakistan’s opening partnership of 24 runs, and set the tone for Harmanpreet Kaur’s India to continue their Asia Cup dominance.

 

3 for 30 vs Australia, Mumbai (Brabourne), March 2018

Different injuries meant that the win against Pakistan would be her last T20I game till the tri-series at home in March 2018. By then the profile of women’s cricket had got a big boost on the back of India’s journey to the 2017 World Cup final in which Goswami had played a massive role. After that, in South Africa, she had become the first bowler to take 200 ODI wickets. But this was a fresh start, and she was eager to prove her worth in the format yet again in a World T20 year.

Goswami conceded two boundaries in the first four balls of Australia’s chase of 153. She pulled her length back with the fifth ball to go through Healy’s defence and hit the top of the middle stump. A ball worth all the emotions she expended to celebrate her comeback. India lost, but with three wickets Goswami was back with a bang.

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