“If we can do well in the final, a lot of things can change for us,” says Harmanpreet Kaur

It’s no secret that Harmanpreet Kaur’s famous 115-ball-171* against Australia in the 2017 semifinal opened doors for women’s cricket in India in every possible sense. The knock saw women’s cricket in India grow at a rapid pace and now again when there’s a standstill situation there’s come an opportunity for India in form of the Commonwealth Games final to make a stronger statement. Harmanpreet Kaur when will take the field against Australia in the final she’ll know its business undone.

 

"If we can do well in the final, a lot of things can change for us," says Harmanpreet Kaur. PC: Getty Images
“If we can do well in the final, a lot of things can change for us,” says Harmanpreet Kaur. PC: Getty Images

Speaking after the intriguing T20I semifinal contest, Harmanpreet Kaur said, “It means a lot for us, we’ve been working hard for so long. This is a great platform for us. Participating for the first time (In the Commonwealth Games), if we can do well (in the final), a lot of things can change for us. We never thought or wondered what we are playing for and what we aren’t playing for. (Gold) medal coming or not coming isn’t in our hands. We just want to play well. The way we’ve played so far, we’ve learnt a lot.”

It was a tense chase towards the end where India managed to bag wickets be it throughout a great piece of outfield patrolling or trapping the batters, India regularly managed to see the back of English. Harmanpreet Kaur on the same said, “Until the last moment, we believed we could win, even though they had a couple of strong partnerships. Even when they were going well, no one gave up. We’ve been working on this for a while. If you keep doing this, results will come at some point along the way, and I’m glad it is showing now.

“It was an important match. It feels good that that everyone stepped up to their responsibilities with the bat, ball and on the field. It’s important that all of them remain together in such matches. In the last over, if you see, our fast fielders took the responsibility of fielding in the deep. That shows how keen you are to do well for the team.”

India throughout the Games have been looking to use Shafali Verma, the part-timer who can come on and sneak a couple of overs to keep the batters guessing is a plan Harmanpreet Kaur has used as she further said, “I’m a great fan of knowing how other teams are doing. If you’re aware of it, you can plan. We need someone who can help us like that and I’m happy it’s working for us.”

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Harmanpreet Kaur further shared insight on the same stating, “When we brought her (Shafali) in, there were two offspinners bowling, if we would have brought in a third, it would have been easy for England. Shafali mixes it up well, she is always keen to bowl. You need someone who enjoys bowling and wants the ball in tough situations.

“Whenever I ask her if she wants to bowl, she gets excited. Under pressure, sometimes, a bowler may not be able to give it their best, but her excitement motivates the others too. It sends out a message that if someone who isn’t a regular bowler is so keen to bowl and make a difference, it gives extra responsibility to the (main) bowlers.

Runs on board on a big day and in a big game are always comforting for a side. India having won the toss opted to bat first and Harmanpreet Kaur shared more insight on the same, quoting, “The reason why we batted is we wanted to dominate in the first six. We were ready to lose one wicket, but we needed to utilise the first six overs on a fresh wicket. The way Smriti batted was outstanding to watch. We were looking for more than 150. In games like these, you need to have (a big) total on the board.

Credits: Shashank Kishore / ESPN Cricinfo

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