India’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur smashed 103 of 51 balls, despite suffering from “a little bit of a back problem” on the eve of the Women’s World T20 opener against New Zealand and stomach cramps on the day of the game. Her innings – incredible even without those two issues – led India to a 34-run victory in Providence, Guyana.
“Yesterday, I was having a little bit of back problem. And in the morning I was not feeling well. And I think when I came to the ground, I was feeling a little low and getting some cramps,” Harmanpreet said, when asked why she had needed attention from the physio during her innings. “Later on when I went for batting … when initially I was running two runs, I got a cramp, and after that physio gave me the medicine and then it settled down. Then I thought instead of running too much, if I can get more, make a big shot, because if I’m running too much then I was getting more cramps.”
And the big shots came. Harmanpreet launched eight sixes and hit seven fours during her innings, one that had started slowly – she was 5 off 13 balls at one stage, having come in with India 40 for 3 in 5.4 overs.
“Well, it was the first game. And to be honest, I was nervous … and I’m also human, I also get nervous,” Harmanpreet said. “But yes when I was middling the ball, once I started middling the ball after that I started just getting my shots.
“Once you settle down you need to execute. I took my time. And later on when I was watching the ball well and then I just executed. I was looking for the open areas where I can hit and I can get the runs. I know it’s a good batting track. And if I settled down, I can get the runs. And that’s what I was thinking. I just need to settle down.”
And once she had settled down, Harmanpreet switched gears and brought up 50 off 33 balls. Her 134-run stand with Jemimah Rodrigues set India up for a match-winning total of 194 for 5. Rodrigues made 59 off 45 balls, and her form gave Harmanpreet the space she needed to pace herself.
“Yeah, when she [Rodrigues] got her first boundary, she was looking very good, the way she played that cover drive,” Harmanpreet said. “That really gave me confidence, when someone is getting good runs and middling the ball really well. When I went initially I took my time, she was getting runs for us. And once I settled down, then we were trying to attack from both sides.”
Harmanpreet went from 50 in the 15th over to 100 in 20th – it had taken her only 16 balls. She said the focus had been on just getting as many runs as possible, because New Zealand had powerful batsmen in their line-up.
“Well, I was really not looking at how many runs I was getting. I was just looking how much we need to win the game and we knew they have really good batters,” Harmanpreet said. “So with Sophie Devine and [Suzie] Bates, we knew if we scored just 150 we’re not able to make it because they are also good hitters.”
With New Zealand beaten, India’s next game is against Pakistan on November 11, and Harmanpreet said they needed to work on their batting in the Powerplay – India were 41 for 3 after six overs against New Zealand.
“We need to focus on the first six overs, because when you have only two fielders outside, how much can you get, it’s always a plus point for us,” Harmanpreet said. “And that is the only reason we went Taniya [Bhatia], who can play freely [as opener]. Because if you have youngster who is not thinking too much, just want to enjoy your game, I think that is a reason we started with Taniya today.”