In cricket, as in any other sport, statistics and record books do not always tell you the whole story. But every now and then, a player comes along who writes and rewrites history so often that they end up defining their era. The numbers, then, become mere evidence for what we have witnessed with our eyes: a talent that transcends the game itself.

One such name in cricket is Mithali Raj.

The day her career eventually winds down, the Indian legend, now 37 years old, will go down as one of the all-time greats of the game.

When one considers she has played for two decades, it is a bit of a shame that Mithali will not be able to add to the 10 Tests she played for India. And considering that the advent of T20 happened in the later part of her career, Mithali’s record in the shortest format is not be scoffed at either. But there is no doubting the fact the format she has been most dominant in is the One-Day Internationals.

It was the 50-over format that introduced Mithali to international cricket back in 1999; the day she made a century on debut against Ireland in Milton Keynes.

In this article, we will take a look at the many records that India’s current ODI captain Mithali Raj holds in the format. When one takes in the enormity of her achievements listed below, there is bound to be little doubt that the Indian captain is one of the greatest batters the game has seen.

(Note: Scroll to the right or swipe across on mobile screens to view all columns of the tables below.)

An ODI colossus

There is only one place to start. During the 2017 ICC Women’s ODI World Cup, Mithali became the highest scorer and first woman to reach the 6,000-run mark in ODIs. She went past England legend Charlotte Edwards. Mithali became the highest run-getter during India’s group stage encounter against Australia in Bristol and a few deliveries later, the then 34-year-old also managed to get past the 6,000 run mark, adding another one of many firsts to her name.

Top 10 ODI run-getters

Player Country Inns Runs HS Ave 100 50s 
M Raj India 189 6888 125* 50.64 7 53
CM Edwards England 180 5992 173* 38.16 9 46
BJ Clark Australia 114 4844 229* 47.49 5 30
KL Rolton Australia 132 4814 154* 48.14 8 33
SR Taylor West Indies 123 4754 171 44.01 5 36
SW Bates New Zealand 118 4534 168 42.77 10 27 
SC Taylor England 120 4101 156* 40.20 8 23
DA Hockley New Zealand 115 4064 117 41.89 4 34
SJ Taylor  England 119 4056 147 38.26 7 20
A Satterthwaite New Zealand 113 3821 137* 38.98 6 21

Mithali, who became the youngest woman to play 100 ODIs when she was just 25 years old, is also the first to have played more than 200 matches in the 50-over format. That’s no surprise because she is the woman with the longest career in the history of the game, having crossed the two-decade milestone in October 2019.

In fact, only three others can boast of such a longevity, across both genders: so far Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya and Javed Miandad have played ODIs over a 20-year span among men.

As of May 2020, India have played 272 ODIs in their history with Mithali featuring in 209 of them: an incredible 76.83% of the total. Starting from her ODI debut in 1999, India have played 222 matches in the format. She has been a part of all but 13 of them.

Most ODIs played

Player Span Matches
M Raj 1999-2019 209
CM Edwards 1997-2016 191
J Goswami 2002-2019 182
AJ Blackwell 2003-2017 144
JL Gunn 2004-2019 144

Having captained India for the first time in March 2004 against West Indies in Lucknow, Mithali has led the country for a whopping 132 matches. Once again, she is in elite company with Edwards and Belinda Clark for leading the country in more than 100 ODIs; another list that Mithali tops.

More than 100 ODIs as captain

Player Span Matches
M Raj (IND-W) 2004-2019 132
CM Edwards (ENG-W) 2005-2016 117
BJ Clark (AUS-W) 1994-2005 101

Back to her batting, being the leader of the country for so long, it is no surprise that Mithali has scored the most ODI runs among women as captains.

Most runs as captain

Player Inns Runs Ave 100 50
M Raj 117 4402 54.34 5 36
BJ Clark 97 4150 47.15 5 24
CM Edwards 107 3523 38.71 5 28
SW Bates 72 3214 51.83 8 20
MM Lanning 55 2640 57.39 9 10

Mithali is one among the three players in the game to average more than 50 in ODIs (minimum 50 matches played). Even relaxing the criteria for number of innings batted (20), only six women in the history of the game boast of averages higher than 50 in ODIs and, of course, Mithali is one of them.

Best batting average in career

Player Inns NO Runs Ave
MM Lanning 80 10 3693 52.75
EA Perry 89 31 3022 52.10
M Raj  189 53 6888 50.64
KL Rolton 132 32 4814 48.14
BJ Clark 114 12 4844 47.49
Criteria: Min 50 matches played

Winning or losing — Mithali delivered for India

In 2019, Mithali became the first woman to score 3,000 ODI runs in run-chases and the first to 2,000 in successful chases. While those are astounding numbers by themselves, sample this: she averages a staggering 107.15 in successful run-chases for India, the best among women who have played 20 such innings. New Zealand captain Amy Satterthwaite is not far back but she has a 105.81 average in less than half the innings as Mithali.

Best average in successful run-chases

Player Inns Runs Ave 50s (100s)
M Raj 52 2036 107.15 16 (1)
AE Satterthwaite  24 1164 105.81 7 (3)
KL Rolton  36 1319 87.93 7 (3)
SW Bates 27 1403 87.68 12 (3)
EA Perry 24 863 78.45 9 (0)
Criteria: Min 20 innings batted

Another statistic that signifies just how important to India’s cause in ODIs has Mithali been: she has remained unbeaten 33 times in successful run-chases, comfortably the most in world cricket.

Simply put, no one else took the women in blue past the finish line as well and as many times as Mithali did.

Most Not Outs in successful run-chases

Player Inns batted Not outs
M Raj 52 33
KL Rolton 36 21
AJ Blackwell 35 14
LS Greenway 34 14
JL Gunn 25 14
LC Sthalekar 35 14

For much of the 2000s, India were so often heavily dependent on Mithali to score the runs that she tops the chart for being most prolific in losing causes as well.

Most runs scored in losing causes in ODIs

Player Inns Runs 100 50
M Raj  83 2464 1 19
CM Edwards 79 1982 1 16
C Athapaththu 66 1689 2 8
AE Satterthwaite 61 1675 2 8
SW Bates 61 1664 2 10

Scoring big hundreds was not exactly commonplace in the women’s game for most part of her career. In the list of best individual ODI scores of all time, seven out of the top 10 have been scored since 2010. Mithali’s highest score in 125* (her seventh and most recent century that came against Sri Lanka in 2018) and that is possibly one of the few record lists that she will end up not topping when she brings the curtains down on her career.

Australia captain Meg Lanning, who could potentially own some of the records that Mithali set over her career in the long run, leads the way with the most centuries (13) in the 50-over format. The Indian veteran could still reach double figures for the triple-figure mark but the record is likely out of her reach at this point.

It is also worth noting that she jointly owns the record with Suzie Bates for the most 90s in ODIs (5 each) and four of them were unbeaten knocks; that’s a few centuries missed out right there.

Most centuries in ODIs

Player Inns HS 100
MM Lanning  80 152* 13
SW Bates 118 168 10
CM Edwards  180 173* 9
SC Taylor (ENG-W) 120 156* 8
KL Rolton  132 154* 8
TT Beaumont  63 168* 7
SJ Taylor (ENG-W) 119 147 7
M Raj 189 125* 7

Even if she is not the most prolific with scoring centuries, the Indian superstar proved to the world that she was the real deal right from the word go.

She made her debut in 1999 at 16 years 205 days, on India’s tour of Ireland and England. Opening the innings, she became the youngest female player to make a century and that is a record still stands. She is among a group of just five women to have scored a century on ODI debut.

Incredibly so, she is also the only woman to have scored a century as a teenager and at age 35 years or more.

Youngest women to score a 100 in ODIs

Player Age Runs Opposition Ground Match Date
M Raj 16y 205d 114* v Ire Women Milton Keynes 26 Jun 1999
L Wolvaardt 17y 105d 105 v Ire Women Dublin (Malahide) 9 Aug 2016
CM Edwards 17y 243d 102 v SA Women Taunton 17 Aug 1997
AC Kerr 17y 243d 232* v Ire Women Dublin 13 Jun 2018
SJ Taylor 17y 285d 101 v AUS Women Chennai 1 Mar 2007

Oldest women to score a 100 in ODIs

Player Age Runs Opposition Ground Match Date
BL Bevege 39y 48d 101 v Int XI Women Auckland 12 Jan 1982
JA Brittin 38y 161d 138 v PAK Women Vijayawada 12 Dec 1997
M Terblanche 37y 289d 114* v Neth Women Utrecht 4 Aug 2007
DA Hockley 37y 91d 100 v AUS Women Melbourne 6 Feb 2000
M Raj 35y 287d 125* v SL Women Katunayake 16 Sep 2018
L Olivier 35y 243d 101* v Ire Women Christchurch 16 Dec 2000

When it comes to scoring half centuries, Mithali has a comfortable lead. She overtook Edwards in April 2018 for the most 50-plus scores in the 50-over format and is unlikely to caught in this race anytime soon with Stafanie Taylor in third place (41).

Most fifty-plus scores in ODIs

Player Inns Runs Ave 50+
M Raj  189 6888 50.64 60
CM Edwards  180 5992 38.16 55
SR Taylor 123 4754 44.01 41
KL Rolton  132 4814 48.14 41
DA Hockley  115 4064 41.89 38

Mithali also holds the record for registering the most number of consecutive 50-plus scores.

Mithali Raj's record 7 fifties on the trot

Runs Opposition Ground Match Date
70* v SL Women Colombo (PSS) 7 Feb 2017
64 v SA Women Colombo (PSS) 15 Feb 2017
73* v Bdesh Wmn Colombo (NCC) 17 Feb 2017
51* v SA Women Potchefstroom (Uni) 9 May 2017
54 v SA Women Potchefstroom 17 May 2017
62* v SA Women Potchefstroom 21 May 2017
71 v ENG Women Derby 24 Jun 2017

And finally, perhaps the statistic that conveys best how much of a battle it has been for most of Mithali Raj’s India career. On many a occasion, Mithali has been a sole warrior in India’s cause, even if it does not happen often in the recent past. It is no surprise, then, among women scoring more than 50% of the team’s total in a completed innings, Mithali features the most often.

Scoring 50% or more of the team's totals

Player Team Scoring 50% or more team's total
Mithali Raj  India 6
Charlotte Edwards England 4
Chamari Atapattu Sri Lanka 4
Belinda Clark Australia 3
Janette Brittin England 3
Stafanie Taylor West Indies 3
Includes instances where a team was all out or where the full allocation of scheduled overs was used.

Mithali Raj scoring 50% or more of India's runs

Score Team total % of score Inns of match Opponent Venue  Date
74 129 57.36 2 v AUS Women Sydney 1 Nov 2008
75* 137/7 54.74 1 v SL Women Sydney 12 Mar 2009
92* 173/5 53.17 1 v ENG Women Taunton 5 Jul 2012
53* 102 51.96 1 v ENG Women Taunton 1 Sep 2008
91* 180 50.55 2 v ENG Women Bengaluru 21 Feb 2010
109* 216/4 50.46 1 v WI Women Rajkot 18 Jan 2011
Includes instances where a team was all out or where the full allocation of scheduled overs was used.

When it comes to World Cups, Mithali has played 31 matches which is the joint third-most. She is the only active player to have scored more than 1,000 runs at the marquee event. With 1139 runs at an average of 54.23 (two 100s and nine 50s), Mithali is fifth on the list of top run-getters in World Cup.

Having captained India in both the 2005 and 2017 World Cup finals, Mithali is one among the three women to have led their country in the final of a World Cup more than once.

Come 2021, Mithali Raj would hope to add another feather to her cap. Another shot at a World Cup title that has eluded her would be the icing on a cake for what has already been a phenomenal ODI career.

Statistics courtesy ESPNCricinfo, Twitter user @hypocaust and Scroll.in research.