Australia clinched their fifth women’s Twenty20 World Cup title on Sunday after beating India by 85 runs in front of more than 86,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Australia came into their sixth successive final as heavy favourites, in contrast to India who were playing their first decider. India had upset Meg Lanning’s team in the opening game of the tournament, but they never got a look in on Sunday.
Australia managed to score 184 for four – the highest score ever in a women’s T20 final and India in reply could only manage 99 all out.
Here is what India captain Harmanpreet Kaur had to say at the post-match press conference:
That seemed to start quite poorly for you in the field. Did you feel that the pressure of expectations got to your team in that game?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Well, when you lose half chances, and then it’s hard for a bowler to get that confidence back. Then I guess it’s easy for a batter too because, when they get a chance, then they are just batting freely. They don’t have any pressure.
I don’t think we were fielding under pressure, but unfortunately, we were not able to create those chances because that was very crucial because they both were in great form. You cannot drop the catches. After that, I think they batted very well.
How difficult is it as a captain when someone like Alyssa Healy is playing like she did today?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Well, when you give chances to a batter who is in great form, then it’s very difficult for bowlers to come back. We were trying our best, but we should give credit to them also because they played great cricket today.
How does this compare with the disappointment of losing in 2017 at Lords?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Well, I guess 2017 was more disappointing because that was so close, but today what we were expecting of ourselves, we didn’t play that cricket. But as our team is quite young, we did really well in the league games, and I think at last T20 World Cup we reach into the semis and this year into finals. I think, if we just keep working on ourselves and keep improving, then maybe in the future we can win.
Obviously, the result itself is disappointing for you, but is there still a sense of excitement of being involved in a very historic day for women’s cricket and playing in front of such a big crowd?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Yes, definitely. It was a great day. Definitely, we enjoyed it. Winning and losing are a part of the game. You cannot convey your day with winning and losing because one team is going to win and one team is going to lose. I think, at the end of the day, it was a great tournament for us. Hopefully, in future, we’ll give our best and try to win for the country.
Commiserations. Just further into the future, do you feel this can be a real boost for Indian women’s cricket?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Yes, definitely, because if you see our team is quite young, and young girls are coming and giving 100 percent for the team. I think, after reaching into the finals, this will definitely motivate many girls back home, and they will come and play cricket, and I think it will give great momentum for us.
How disappointed were you with the fielding performance tonight?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Well, no doubt we didn’t field well today, but definitely we need to learn from today’s performance because, when you’re playing a great level of cricket, you cannot drop yourself. We were not up to the mark. We will definitely take this thing seriously. Next time we come to play, we’ll definitely be one of the best fielding sides.
Shafali dropped that chance in the first over. Do you think that affected her mentally for the rest of the game and then batting?
HARMANPREET KAUR: If you see, she’s just 16 years old, and she’s playing her first T20 World Cup. No doubt she did really, really well and she performed for us. But for a 16-year-old sometimes it’s difficult to keep thinking positive and be into the game, but it’s a learning lesson for her, and I hope in future, because sometimes we – it can happen from anyone. We cannot blame her because anybody – like somebody else was also at her place.
But I think it’s a learning lesson for all of us because we have to be at 100 percent when we are fielding because that is the most important part in cricket.
There was a bit of a difference in the way in for the two teams in that you had basically a week without playing after the last qualifying game and having a washed out semifinal whereas Australia had a couple of hard games. Did that gap in a tight schedule, did that affect your rhythm at all going into today?
HARMANPREET KAUR: Well, we can’t blame that because it’s part of the game. Sometimes you don’t get a game because of weather. We were doing indoors or whenever outdoors was possible, but I don’t think it affected us because we all were into the game, we all knew what we have to do, but I think today was not our day.
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