India’s spot in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 semi-finals is already safe but captain Harmanpreet Kaur insists they won’t take Sri Lanka lightly in their final group game.
Kaur’s side were the first to sail through to the knockout stages after securing wins against hosts and defending champions Australia, as well as Bangladesh and New Zealand, in the first week of the tournament.
Victory over Sri Lanka on Saturday would see them top Group A and head into the semi-finals full of confidence – and Kaur doesn’t want to settle for anything less.
“I know we have qualified, but the next game is still crucial for us,” said Kaur. “We will be taking Sri Lanka very seriously.
“They’ve been doing well. I know they haven’t won a game but they were almost there on both occasions. We will be taking it very seriously before we start thinking about the semi-finals. We try to take every wicket in all of our games. Every wicket is an important one at this level. We just have to try and stick to our plan, especially to get out the likes of Chamari Athapaththu early. That will be crucial.”
Sri Lanka have arguably had the toughest start to the tournament having lost to New Zealand and Australia in their opening two games, followed by facing India in their third Group A fixture.
But despite the threat of their opponents Sri Lanka have held their own, giving Australia an almighty scare in Perth when reducing the hosts to 10 for three in the early overs.
Sri Lanka veteran Shashikala Siriwardena – who will retire from all formats of the game at the end of the tournament after 17 years - is proud of her team’s fight so far, but admitted she would be disappointed to say her farewells without a tournament win.
“We want to take victories in our next two games,” she said.
“We did well against Australia and New Zealand, but we couldn’t turn it into a win. Chamari Athapaththu is performing well which really is boosting the team. We’re happy with the way we’ve played but we’re still hungry for a win and we’ll be giving 100 per cent to get it. We have to do what we have done well in previous matches against India but at the same time we need to correct the mistakes we are repeating, especially in fielding.
She added, “Our players are trying to continuously perform, that’s the main thing. We know that the potential is there but the performance and execution on the big stage is lacking. Playing close matches against good quality teams has only helped us to improve.”