Cape Town, Feb 23 (IANS) After India’s narrow five-run loss to Australia in the first semi-final of the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup, captain Harmanpreet Kaur rued her unfortunate run-out on 52, calling the whole incident ‘can’t be unluckier than that’.
Harmanpreet, who played the semifinal despite suffering from illness, was leading her side’s charge of chasing down Australia’s 172/4. But a bizarre moment in the 15th over sent Harmanpreet back when her bat jammed while running towards the striker’s end, leaving her short of her ground.
It turned out to be the turning point of the match as India could make only 167/8 in their 20 overs, despite a 69-run standoff of 41 balls between Harmanpreet and Jemimah Rodrigues. The loss meant India fell short of a second successive T20 World Cup appearance and broke the Australian juggernaut by only five runs.
“Can’t feel unluckier than this. We got the momentum back with Jemi (Jemimah). To lose from here, we weren’t expecting this. The way I got run out, can’t be unluckier than that. Putting the effort was important and we were happy to go to the last ball.”
“We wanted to fight till the last ball. Today we wanted to chase too, so that was fine when they chose to bat. Even after losing the first two wickets, we knew we had a good batting line-up. I should give credit to Jemimah, she gave us the momentum,” said Harmanpreet in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Harmanpreet also felt sad about the chances dropped by India in a sloppy fielding show. India gave reprieves to Beth Mooney and Meg Lanning on 32 and 1 respectively. While Beth would go on to make 53, Meg remained unbeaten on 49.
“Happy to see some good performances. We played some good cricket. Today was something where we wanted to play our natural game. Few of us did that. We again gave some easy catches away. When you have to win, you have to take your chances. We can only learn from these.”
Meg, the Australian skipper, was pleased over how her team stood tall in the crunch moments during the match.
“It was one of the best wins I’ve been involved in, to fight back after not playing the best cricket in all three facets. We missed our lengths and gave some width. India came hard at us, so we knew this score would’ve been hard to defend. But we pulled through in the clutch moments.”
She also revealed that no one in the Australian team was panicky when Harmanpreet and Jemimah were counterattacking. “Got a nervous couple of times. But we knew playing against these guys, that you need to stay in the game to get over the line. Kaur was unfortunate. I think we are able to stay calm and composed, we didn’t panic even when we weren’t bowling well. These are the kind of games we want to win. Can’t wait to get here for the final.”
All-rounder Ashleigh Gardner was named Player of the Match for her all-round show, a quickfire 31 with the bat and picking two wickets with her off-spin. She said her plan was to not give any loose deliveries to Indian batters.
“Last over, my heart rate was about 190 (laughs). That’s how we fight as a team. That’s what we spoke about at the huddle after the match. We weren’t in a winning position, but we find a way, we scrap hard, and we win.”
“We set the game up well with the bat, missed a few with the ball, but showed character. Was clear on what we wanted to execute. India have handy batters down the lineup. With the ball in hand, it was about trying to hit the wicket and not give freebies. Want to take confidence into the final.”