Captain Harmanpreet Kaur became the first woman from her country to smash a T20 international century on Friday as India defeated New Zealand by 34 runs on the opening day of the Women’s World Twenty20.
Kaur battled cramps to lift India to a winning 194/5 at the Guyana National Stadium with Jemimah Rodrigues hitting 59. She finally fell for 103 off 51 balls having hit eight sixes and seven boundaries.
In reply, the White Ferns could only reach 160/9 despite opener Suzie Bates providing a solid foundation with a top score of 67.
Here is what Kaur said in the post-match press conference:
On what was going through her mind while batting:
Well, I know it was the first game and I know it’s a good batting track. If I settled down, I can get the runs. That’s what I was thinking. Once I settled down, I could execute myself. I took my time [to settle down]. And later on I was watching the ball well and then I just executed [myself]. I was looking for the open areas where I can hit and I can get the runs.
On asking for the physio while batting:
Yesterday, I was having a little bit of a back problem. In the morning I was not feeling well. I think when I came to the ground, I was feeling a little low and getting some [stomach] cramps. Later on when I went for batting, when I was getting two runs I was feeling a little bit crampy. Later on they gave me the medicine and now I’m feeling better.
I thought instead of running too much, if I can make a big shot... because if you’re running too much then I was getting more cramps. I just told [my partners] to give strike to me [so] I can go for big shots.
On her partnership with Jemimah Rodrigues:
When she got her first boundary, she was looking very well the way she played that cover drive. That really gave me confidence when someone is getting good runs and middling the ball really well. Later, when I went [out to bat] initially, I took my time [as] she was getting runs for us. Once I settled down, then we were trying to attack from both sides.
I think she played really well because when someone is hitting, you need someone who can rig the side and give strike. I can say she played a real mature innings with me.
On going for a century:
Well, I was really not looking at how much runs I am getting. I was just looking at how much we need to win the game because we knew they have really good batters. So Sophie Devine and Bates, we knew if we scored just 150 we’re not able to make it because they are also good hitters. When Jemimah was playing with me, we were thinking how much run we can get on the board.
On deciding to open with Taniya Bhatia:
Well, Taniya did really well in the Sri Lanka series and later on she got really good runs in the first friendly game. The way she was batting, we just wanted to give more chances to the young players. If someone like Taniya, if she gets runs for us, it’s a plus for the team.
We needed to focus on the first six overs, because when you have only two fielders outside [the circle], how much can you get is always a plus point for us. That is the only reason we went with Taniya [at the top], who can play freely. Youngsters don’t think too much and just want to enjoy their game. I think that is a reason we started with Taniya today.
On when she decided to go for big shots:
Well, it was the first game. And to be honest, I was nervous, because I know no matter how much you played, when you’re playing such a great level, you always are nervous about it. And I’m also human, I also get nervous. Once I started middling the ball after that I started just getting my shots.
On how this innings compared with the 171 against Australia in the World Cup last year:
Well, both were big innings for us. [Back then] we were qualifying for the finals. Today was still staying in the league [stage]. I think both innings were important. I’m happy whenever you get runs and the team wins. It always gives you motivation. It’s really good for me to build my innings in the upcoming games.
On whether her batting can get better:
Yes, why not? Because every day’s a learning day. Today I learned a lot and definitely when I go for next time to bat I would like to learn from my batting.
On being second on the list all time six-hitting list in World Cup, behind Deandra Dottin:
I like to hit long shots and that’s what I was trying today. Rather than thinking how many sixes I’m hitting, I was enjoying myself in the middle and happy because we won today.
On what this victory means for India in this tournament:
Well, every game is important for us. We prepared really hard for this World Cup. I think it means a lot for us because we knew New Zealand has a very good side. If we win against them, it will definitely give us a lot of confidence.