Harmanpreet Kaur rues luck, missed chances after tense semi-final exit
"We can't be unluckier than this," she said of her run-out while also praising Rodrigues
India captain Harmanpreet Kaur believes they "can't be unluckier" after her run-out led to Australia wresting back control and eking out a five-run win to enter their seventh straight final in the Women's T20 World Cup.
After slipping to 28 for 3 while chasing 173, India clawed back via a 69-run partnership between Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet. Then with 40 needed off 33 balls, India's captain was run-out for 52 after her bat got stuck outside the crease while completing a second run. Australia swung the game in their favour from there and India fell just short.
"We can't be unluckier than this," Harmanpreet said at the presentation. "The way we got the momentum back when Jemi and I were batting… and after that losing this game, we were not expecting this today.
"The way I got run-out… can't be unluckier than that. Putting the effort was more important and I am happy we took this game till the last ball. That is what we discussed in the team meeting, that we want to fight till the last ball. The result was not in our favour but I am happy with the way we played in this tournament."
India won two of their three games in the T20 World Cup chasing and Harmanpreet was happy despite losing the toss on Thursday, when Australia opted to bat. India kept Australia under check despite a 52-run opening stand between Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney, although Mooney, Meg Lanning and Ashleigh Gardner powered them to 172 for 4 by amassing 73 runs off the last six overs.
"We love to chase and today also we were thinking of chasing only," Harmanpreet said. "When Australia took batting, we know whatever we were expecting, it is happening the way we want. Even after losing first two wickets we know we have a good batting line-up and have few players who back themselves."
Rodrigues was the first to counterattack for India, by striking back-to-back fours as soon as she came out to bat, and picked gaps against both pace and spin in her knock of 43 off 24.
"Specially, I should give credit to Jemimah, the way she batted today. She was the one who gave us the momentum we were looking for. Happy to see some good performances we saw this tournament."
India's fielding in the semi-final left a lot to be desired. Lanning and Mooney were dropped at least once each while there were a lot of misfields, too, from the first over. Harmanpreet conceded that those cost them.
"We again gave some easy catches away," she said. "When we have to win, we have to take those chances especially, which is 100% in your hands. We did misfield today. We can only learn from these areas and whenever we come next time we should learn from this and should not make these mistakes next time.
"We fought in this tournament and we played some really good cricket. Even though we didn't play according to our strengths, still we were able to make the semi. Today we wanted to play our natural game and a few of us did that. Happy to see that."
'Knew we can take a couple of wickets and change the game,' says Lanning
Meanwhile, Australia captain Lanning termed it as "one of the best wins" she has been involved in. Australia looked to run out of solutions when Rodrigues and Harmanpreet were batting but stuck to their disciplined lines and mostly caught and fielded whatever came their way to maintain their successful streak in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup.
"That's one of the best wins I have been involved in," she said. "To fight back from the position we were in, probably not playing our best game in all three facets was great fighting spirit from the girls, couldn't be more proud of them.
"We probably missed our lengths a little bit, gave a bit of width at times. But India were coming hard at us. They have got some incredible players, so we knew it's got to be hard to defend and it came right down to the wire as we expected."
Australia defeated India in the final of the T20 World Cup in 2020 and also edged past them to win the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year. They also defeated India 4-1 in India in December last year - the loss coming via a Super Over. So Lanning knew it wouldn't be easy.
"I was a little bit nervous but we do know - and in the past playing against these guys - we take a couple of wickets and things change quickly," she said. "So we just have to hang in there. We got a little bit of luck with Kaur's wicket but we stayed in the game. That's what you have got to do and to be able to get over the line is certainly very special.
"I think we are able to stay calm and composed. We didn't execute as well as we would have liked but there was no panic out there. We knew that a couple of wickets will change it in our favour and we love the big moments. These are the games we want to play in."