Vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who was pleased with India’s outing against the West Indies, said the squad is hoping for a similar performance against defending champions England in their ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup encounter at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Wednesday.
In their previous match against the West Indies, India put in a fantastic all-round effort against an in-form West Indies team, winning by 155 runs. Before the spinners clinched the deal for India, Kaur and opener Smriti Mandhana shone with the bat, with each blasting hundreds while sharing a 184-run partnership.
While India’s confidence from the win against West Indies is expected to carry forward in their World Cup campaign, it will also be a match wherein England would want to perform to the best of their abilities to avoid an early exit from the tournament, after losing three opening games on a trot.
In the pre-match press conference, Harmanpreet said, “ I think for us, it is very important to (perform) the way we performed in the last game, we just need to continue that rather than just thinking about what their weakness is and what are their positive points.”
“We got a great partnership while batting and also the way we bowled in partnerships, we want to continue that against England and in the upcoming matches. I think those are the areas which we look to continue.
“Apart from that, sometimes we are losing back-to-back wickets, if we can work on that. Otherwise, the way we want (things to be) we are getting them,” she added.
The 33-year-old, who followed her 71 against New Zealand with a spectacular century (109 off 107) and has scored three out of four her One Day International hundreds at World Cups, spoke about her ability to notch up inspired performances in big games.
“Big tournaments are always very important and where your role is more important, you need to take more responsibility and perform for your team,” she said.
“I always want to give my best for my team but you know, sometimes things don’t go your way but I make sure whenever we play the World Cup, I’m there for my team and maybe that is a reason (for performing well in big games).”
Travelling with the Indian team in New Zealand is sports psychologist Mughda Bavare, whose presence has been acknowledged by coach Ramesh Powar, all-rounder Sneh Rana and Kaur herself.
Answering a question about how she has helped, Kaur said, “I think she has done a great job so far. And not only me, other girls are also talking to her whenever we need to and you know, talking to someone who can listen to us and you can share your thoughts with... The best thing about her is that whenever we talk to her, she always looks to find a way.”
India may have lost the solitary Twenty20 match and the ODI series against New Zealand 4-1 ahead of the World Cup, but it did not come without lessons for the team. Kaur’s place in the team was under scrutiny ahead of the showpiece event and she was also ‘rested’ in the 4th ODI.
However, with two convincing wins out of three games, all was not in vain as the bilateral series did turn out to be just the preparation for the New Zealand conditions.
She added: “The greatest thing was before the World Cup we got (to play) five ODIs against New Zealand and one T20, (and) because of that we got that momentum and got used to these conditions and that is what has been helping us now to perform well.”
(With inputs from ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020)