Birmingham, Aug 7 (IANS) India women’s cricket team skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and her team-mates kept believing in themselves even when England seemed to be in a dominating position with a couple of strong partnerships.
A day after defeating the hosts by just four runs in a semifinal thriller to set up a gold-medal clash against Australia, Harmanpreet said her teammates kept fighting till the desired result was achieved. India managed to defend 164, restricting the Nat Sciver-led England to 160/6 to eke out a narrow victory.
“Until the last moment, we believed we could win, even though they had a couple of strong partnerships,” Harmanpreet said after the historic win.
“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,” the skipper was quoted as saying by ICC.
In a hard-fought game that went down to the final over, India held their nerve and managed to defend 14 runs in the last over to book a berth in the gold medal clash.
“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.”
Despite it being an all-out team effort, vice-captain Smrithi Mandhana was the star performer and made the difference between the two sides. The southpaw pummelled England bowlers during the powerplay, smashing the fastest T20I fifty (in 23 balls) by an Indian women’s player by bettering her own record of 24 balls.
Harmanpreet said India had a decisive plan to try and go big in the powerplay.
“We were ready to lose one wicket, but we needed to utilise the first six overs on a fresh wicket,” she said.
“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.
“Smriti is someone who is keen to do well for the team always. That innings charged us up, and when the opponent’s body language is down, we could utilise those moments. Also, the way Jemi (Jemimah Rodrigues, who scored an unbeaten 44 off 31 balls) batted was outstanding. We needed someone who could finish and it was great that she was there till the last ball,” added the skipper.