Poonam thanks skipper Harmanpreet for bringing out the best in her

India’s pocket-sized dynamo Poonam Yadav says a stinging rebuke from skipper Harmanpreet Kaur on the opening night helped her take the ICC Women’s World T20 by storm.

The leg spinner is one of the highest wicket-takers in the tournament so far, with nine dismissals in four games.

India, playing their first-ever World T20 final will depend heavily on the spin wizard to pull out something special from her armory to outwit Meg Lanning’s Australia on Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

After being hit for a six by Australia’s Alyssa Healy on her fourth delivery of the over in the inaugural match of the World T20 this year, captain Harmanpreet Kaur had a piece of advice to share with the 28-year old leggie. She was quick to react and came up with a ripper to see the back of the swashbuckling Aussie opener the very next ball. Her wrong ones have wreaked havoc in the tournament so far and the defending champs will be circumspect.

“Harmanpreet has been of immense support. When I got hit for a six in the first over, she came to me and said, ‘Poonam, you’re one of the most experienced players in the team, and we expect better of you.’

So, that kind of stirred something within me. I told myself if my captain has that much faith in me, I should be able to make a comeback. I took a wicket in the very next ball and didn’t look back since. Now when I look back at that moment, it means so much in the context of my individual performance and runs to the Final,” explained Poonam.

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In the opening match against the hosts, Poonam came close to picking up a hat-trick, dismissing Rachael Haynes and Ellyse Perry before Jess Jonassen was dropped. It would have been the third hat-trick in Women’s T20 World Cup history.

The 28-year-old has had a superb run in the World T20s, taking eight wickets in five matches in 2014 and repeating the same feat in 2018.

 

Poonam Yadav
Poonam Yadav. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

 

The Agra-born spinner, who is India’s highest-ever wicket-taker in the T20 format was ruled out of T20I tri-series including England and Australia that was played Down Under just before the World Cup, due to injury. Missing out on game time, Yadav revealed that she invested her time studying the top batters and analyzing their weaknesses, which would help her to outthink them going into the ICC event.

 

Poonam Yadav caught celebrating wickets
Poonam Yadav caught celebrating wickets. Pic Credits: ICC

 

Yadav averred, “I had not even played the tri-series, so thanks to the selectors for showing faith in me. When I was on the sidelines, I worked quite hard knowing the quality of competition in the World Cup. So, I would watch a lot of videos of the Australian and the England teams and tried to find out their weaknesses. My preparation that way was good, so despite the pressure, the nerves I was able to do well.”

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