India women’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur said that side was excited to have qualified for the semi-final of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup 2023 and are looking forward to the chances of playing Australia in the semi-final after they defeated Ireland in their last group match via DLS method.
India won by 5 runs via DLS after the rain stopped play in Ireland’s chase after 8.2 overs when they were 54/2 in pursuit of the target of 156 runs. Earlier India had made 155/6 thanks to 87 from Smriti Mandhana, who hit 3 sixes and 9 fours in her knock.
Talking about the prospect of playing Australia in the semi-finals, Harmanpreet Kaur said at the post-match conference: "Well, we always enjoy whenever we play against Australia and no matter, you know, we play against them in semis or any other tournament, we always want to give 100 percent. Because whenever you do well against Australia, you always get good confidence. And it will be a very crucial game for both teams. We just want to go and enjoy our cricket."
However, the skipper was aware of a glaring issue faced by the Indian team and conceded that India’s inability to rotate strike is a “worrying” sign, adding that the team has been discussing how to address its long-standing dot-ball issue.
After facing 51 dot balls in their defeat at the hands of Group B leaders England on Sunday, India showed some improvement against Ireland, with 41 dots in their innings of 155 for 6. At the end of the Powerplay, Ireland was 44 for 2 compared to India's 42 for 0; India had only reached 63 for 1 at the halfway point of their innings.
“Dot balls are something which (are) already worrying us. In the next game, we would love to see some improvement in that area also. Against England, we played too many dot balls. Things like that we have already been discussing in team meetings.
But sometimes, when the other team is bowling too well, at the end of the day, these wickets are something when you score 150, that’s a par score for you,” she said.
Women’s T20 World Cup 2023: “One of the toughest innings…” Smriti Mandhana reflects on her 87 against Ireland
“World Cup games are always something where both the teams are always under pressure. I think in these matches, if 150 is on the board, you always (have) the upper hand. We are not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We are just going there and understanding what conditions are there and just playing according to the situation,” Kaur added.
In her 150th T20I, Kaur promoted herself to the no.3 spot but failed to get any momentum going in her innings and made only 13 runs.
Harmanpreet said: “Initially I tried a few shots, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to convert those shots into the boundary. Sometimes a player is having a good day and then everybody was dropping her catches and she just wanted to express herself. She (Mandhana) told me, ‘better to give me singles than you taking risks’ and initially, that’s what we did. After 15 overs, then you have to take a risk from both sides, and then that’s what we decided to do.”
The hard-hitting Shafali Verma is having an underwhelming tournament, struggling to make the kind of impact that is expected of her.
“Well, we have always given her that liberty, you know, where she can go and express herself. We never put too much pressure because we know she’s someone who likes to play free cricket. She’s someone who doesn’t like to talk too much before the game. And she knows the condition because we spend so much time here. She was here playing the Under-19 World Cup. She knows how the wicket, how the condition behaves,” Kaur said.