Cricket

ICC Women’s T20 World Cup | Eight-day break playing on Harmanpreet’s mind ahead of final

Singer Katy Perry poses with the Indian Cricket Team during the 2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup Media Opportunity at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 07, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia.   | Photo Credit: Ryan Pierse

A forced eight-day break has affected India’s preparations going into the Women’s T20 World Cup final on Sunday but the team is ready to rise to occasion in front a record crowd at the MCG, said skipper Harmanpreet Kaur.

An unbeaten run in the group stage propelled India into their maiden T20 World Cup summit clash after their last-four clash against England was washed out on Thursday.

India had defeated Sri Lanka in their last game on Saturday, followed by a semifinal washout, which meant the visitors haven’t played for the last eight days and Harmanpreet conceded her team has been ‘restless’.

“We haven’t been outdoors much and we didn’t manage to play the important game against England,” said Kaur on the eve of the final against record four-time champions Australia.

Indian women’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur poses with the ICC T20 World Cup, in Melbourne on March 7, 2020.

Indian women’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur poses with the ICC T20 World Cup, in Melbourne on March 7, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Ryan Pierse

 

“We were all in touch and doing indoor training, but it doesn’t give you full confidence because the surface is totally different. Everyone was in good touch and thinking what they can do for the team.

“We did get rest also because when you’re playing for a long time, you need a break. No-one wanted to take rest, everyone was so keen, everyone was on the ground and ready to deal with the situation.”

Over 75,000 tickets have been sold for the finals and Harmanpreet said her team will look to enjoy the big stage and play positive cricket.

“It’s a great feeling. It’s the first time we’re going to see 90,000 people in the stadium and we’re really looking positive for that,” said Harmanpreet, who has played in front of a sold-out crowd in the 2017 Cricket World Cup Final against England at Lord’s.

“We are used to playing when a lot of crowd is around us. Sometimes there’s no noise going around in the stadium so we need to keep an eye on each of us. It’s a big moment.

“Rather than thinking about what is going to trouble us, it’s only about being there, enjoying the moment and giving our best.”

India had defeated Australia by 17 runs in the opening match of the tournament but Harmanpreet said it would be a fresh start for the two teams.

“One thing, we have to keep in mind Sunday is a fresh day, a fresh start. We have to start from ball one,” he said.

“We’ve done quite well in the league games. Both teams are under pressure and both are capable of winning.”

Australia eyes fifth title

Australian captain Meg Lanning says her team are "pumped" for their defence of the women's Twenty20 World Cup against India on Sunday with hopes high that more than 90,000 fans will cram the cavernous Melbourne Cricket Ground.

They go into the final as favourites, courtesy of being the sport's dominant side, winning four of the six tournaments so far, in contrast to Harmanpreet Kaur's India, who are in their first decider.

Australian captain Meg Lanning with her Indian counterpart Harmanpreet Kaur pose with the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup trophy, in Melbourne on March 7, 2020.

Australian captain Meg Lanning with her Indian counterpart Harmanpreet Kaur pose with the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup trophy, in Melbourne on March 7, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Ryan Pierse

 

But with large numbers of Indian fans expected in the 100,000-capacity arena, there will be little in the way of home advantage.

Organisers have set their sights on beating the official world attendance record for a women's sporting fixture on Sunday, to coincide with International Women's Day.

That was set at the 1999 football World Cup final, when 90,185 watched the United States beat China at the Rose Bowl in California.

While widely accepted as the benchmark, an estimated 110,000 are said to have attended the Mexico-Denmark women's World Cup Championships final in 1971, but it was not a sanctioned event.

Pop superstar Katy Perry, who this week revealed she is pregnant, has been recruited to help get punters through the turnstiles, performing before and after the game.

"It seems like it has sort of fallen into place a little bit, and Sunday is going to be massive," said Lanning ahead of Australia playing their sixth successive final.

"So hopefully there is 90,000 people there. Everything's been done that could possibly be done, and we're just really pumped we get to be out in the middle and play in front of everyone."

The final will be a repeat of the tournament opener, when India upset Australia by 17 runs after leg-spinner Poonam Yadav ran riot.

It made every game afterwards a virtual must-win for Lanning's team, and they rose to the task despite tournament-ending injuries to Tayla Vlaeminck and Ellyse Perry.

After beating Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, they edged New Zealand before overcoming South Africa in a nerve-shredding and rain-affected semi-final.

"It's been a hard road, certainly not smooth, but we've given ourselves a chance," said Lanning, who is wary of the threat posed by India.

"They're a class side, they've been playing excellent cricket through the tournament."

Squads:

India Women: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Pooja Vastrakar, Taniya Bhatia, Radha Yadav, Harleen Deol, Arundhati Reddy, Shafali Verma, Richa Ghosh.

Australia women: Rachael Haynes, Megan Schutt, Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham, Erin Burns, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland.

Match starts 12.30 PM IST.

Routes to the final

India

Group A

- bt Australia by 17 runs. India 132-4; Australia 115

- bt Bangladesh by 18 runs. India 142-6; Bangladesh 124-8

- bt New Zealand by 4 runs. India 133-8; New Zealand 130-6

- bt Sri Lanka by seven wickets. India 116-3; Sri Lanka 113-9

Semi-final

- v England. Match abandoned due to rain. India progressed as highest-placed team from group

Australia

Group A

- lost to India by 17 runs. Australia 115; India 132-4

- bt Sri Lanka by 5 wickets. Australia 123-5; Sri Lanka 122-6

- bt Bangladesh by 86 runs. Australia 189-1; Bangladesh 103-9

- bt New Zealand by 4 runs. Australia 155-5; New Zealand 151-7

Semi-final

- bt South Africa by 5 runs. Australia 135-5; South Africa 92-5 (revised DLS target)

Previous winners

2018

Host nation - West Indies

Winner - Australia beat England by eight wickets

2016

Host nation - India

Winner - West Indies beat Australia by eight wickets

2014

Host nation - Bangladesh

Winner - Australia beat England by six wickets

2012

Host nation - Sri Lanka

Winner - Australia beat England by four runs

2010

Host nation - West Indies

Winner - Australia beat New Zealand by three runs

2009

Host nation - England

Winner - England beat New Zealand by six wickets


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