India reached their first Women’s Twenty20 World Cup final after their semi-final clash against England was washed out Thursday.
Harmanpreet Kaur’s unbeaten side were due to face the 2009 champions at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but the rain began pouring early in the day and barely let up.
With no reserve day, the highest ranked teams from the two groups move into the final if play is not possible, putting India through. They will face hosts Australia in the final, who later in the day, secured a narrow five-run victory over South Africa.
Harmanpreet, how does it feel reaching a final in that manner?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Well, we knew from day one, when we were going to start this tournament, that we would have to win all the games, because according to rules, if we would not get a match because of the conditions, then whichever the team at the top of the league would play the final. And that’s how we started.
It was very unfortunate that we didn’t get to the game today. But these are the rules. We can’t help it.
What’s the feeling like in your rooms? It must be a strange halfway feeling; you don’t have the happiness of a win but you know that you’re playing a final at the same time?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Yeah, it’s an interesting thing because we didn’t get to the game. But we all were ready to play. We all were hoping the rain would stop, that we should get a game because these games are very important. Everybody is looking to watch. And we were also looking to play because that is a high-quality game and we didn’t want to miss at all.
But unfortunately, because of the rain, we were not able to get it.
Next up you have to go to the MCG, a big crowd expected. What can you do to prepare your players for that big occasion?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Well, we just need to keep doing the right things, what we have done so far. We just want to go there and play our best cricket.
Obviously in 2017 you played in the World Cup final at Lord’s which I imagine is the biggest event you’ve played in. But the prospect of what we’ll see on Sunday in terms of the crowds at the MCG, I think there’s 60,000 tickets sold already, will that be the biggest game of your career?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Well, we are hoping that we should get it because everybody’s looking very positive about women’s cricket at this moment. And hopefully, like we got in the 2017 World Cup final, and this year also we’re hoping if we get in that it will be very good for women’s cricket.
We spoke pre-tournament about what this tournament could mean for women’s cricket back in India. But have you had similar experiences this time around as to what you experienced a few years ago with people visiting your house or anything like that, anything there I guess?
HARMANPREET KAUR: My parents are here, they’re watching. They wanted to watch today’s game but unfortunately they didn’t get to watch. First time they were going to watch me playing cricket because my dad did when I was in school. But my mother never watched me play cricket. And she was there. I don’t know like what is happening back home because right now more focus is on cricket than other things.
Do you think about in the next few days what it can mean, though, if you do win on Sunday, what it can mean back home? Does that go through your mind, or do you try to block it out and not let that enter your thinking?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Well, definitely we’ll get a lot of attention from the people because everybody wants us to play good cricket and they’re expecting us to do well. And we will try to give our best. If we win, definitely we’ll get a lot of attention and a lot of love from back home.
What does it mean for you to have your parents here and to be supporting you?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Well, it means a lot because from day one I wanted them to watch me playing cricket and today I got this opportunity, they have come here to watch all of us playing, and I hope we get all support from all the parents and try to win this tournament.
Will they be there on Sunday as well?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Yes, definitely, they’ve come for the finals only.