Harmanpreet Kaur revealed that India had paid particular attention to the importance of topping the group stage at the World Cup because it would be the deciding factor in the case of a washed out semi-final which proved to be the case against England in Sydney.
India opened their tournament with a win against Australia before securing a clean sweep of the group with wins against Bangladesh, New Zealand and Sri Lanka meaning they finished above Australia. It meant that when rain washed out the first semi-final at the SCG, India progressed to their first T20 World Cup final.
“We knew from day one when we were going to start this tournament that we would have to win all the games, because if we don’t get a match because of any condition, then whoever is at the top in the league, that team is going to play the final. And that’s how we started,” Kaur said, while also acknowledging that a reserve day would have been preferable. “It was very unfortunate that we didn’t get to the game today. But these are the rules. We can’t help it.”
When England captain Heather Knight was asked if they had paid particular attention to the washout aspect of the semi-finals she said they had not specifically discussed the scenario before the tournament began but set out wanting to win every match.
“Harman must have got a crystal ball out. I’ll have to borrow that from her for the next tournament,” she said. “No, you don’t think about that. It’s such a unique situation. So, yeah, no, we didn’t discuss it. We just wanted to get to the semi-finals and win. We plan to try and win every game that we can.”
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With no match to reflect on in Sydney, attention quickly turned to Sunday and the final where 60,000 tickets have already been sold with the potential of the game-changing momentum and India could bring.
“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,” Kaur said. “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.”
Kaur’s parents and younger brother were at the SCG – the first match her mother had attended – and though there was no cricket for them to watch they will be at the MCG.
“It’s the 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,” Kaur said. “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.”