Harmanpreet Kaur was suffering from fever on the eve of the first match against New Zealand but come match day, the Indian captain was ready to fire and that is exactly what she did and led her team to a 34-run victory in their Women’s World T20 opener at Providence on Friday.
Harmanpreet became the first Indian woman to score a century in T20Is to help the team post 194 for 5 which they defended comfortably thanks to superb bowling performances from Poonam Yadav and Dayalan Hemalatha, who took three wickets each.
But Harmanpreet is not one to settle down and celebrate on the team’s victory just yet as she knows the bigger goal is to carry this winning momentum all the way to the final and then lift the World T20 title.
“Excited, but it is just the beginning, still a long way to go. There are a lot of areas we need to improve. As a team, we need to improve a lot. I knew if I settle down, I can go for my shots.
“Jemimah played really well. When you are hitting well, you need someone who can rotate the strike. Credit goes to her, she also played really well. As a bowling unit, we need to improve. We need to improve in the first six overs,” Harmanpreet said at the post-match presentation.
— ICC World Twenty20 (@WorldT20) November 9, 2018
The 29-year-old went on to reveal that she had fever a day before the game but she completely recovered post India’s win. Harmanpreet also credited coach Romesh Powar for changing the team’s mindset from the time he took over.
“Yesterday I had a bit of fever, feeling really well after winning the game. (On coach Ramesh Powar) Winning and losing is part of the game.
“When Ramesh Sir joined us, a lot changed and we are really happy to have him in the team. He has a lot of experience and that is helping us. We are really happy to have him in the team,” she said after being adjudged the player of the match.
India win the opening match of #WT20 2018! 🇮🇳
New Zealand are kept to 160/9 after Harmanpreet's stunning 103 set up a 34 run win in Guyana.
— ICC T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) November 9, 2018
103 runs from Harmanpreet and a 45-ball 59 from Jemimah Rodrigues helped India post 194 on the board and they restricted New Zealand to 160 for 9 after that.
Poonam and Hemalatha finished with figures of 3 for 33 and 3 for 26 respectively, while Radha Yadav got two wickets. Arundhati Reddy also chipped in with a wicket.
Harmanpreet also praised Jemimah for her batting performance and revealed the reason behind dropping India’s most experienced player Mithali Raj to No.8 in the batting order.
“Mithali is one of our key players. She hasn’t scored much in the first six overs. If she bats later, she can get the runs. We are happy the way she helps us. She (Jemimah Rodrigues) likes to express herself and never takes pressure. We need young players who are excited to play international cricket,” Harmanpreet concluded.
India will next face arch-rivals Pakistan in their second game on November 11 at the same venue.