Victory over Australia will set the tone for India’s campaign at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 but skipper Harmanpreet Kaur admitted that her side hasn’t reached perfection yet.
India were under pressure with the hosts cruising in their chase of 133, with the batting line-up failing to reach their potential despite a superb start from Shafali Verma.
A big hand was needed with the ball and Poonam Yadav duly delivered, taking four for 19 to rip the heart out of the Australian batting unit as India edged to a 17-run win.
Victory in Sydney puts India in a good position when it comes to semi-final qualification but Kaur knows her side cannot look too far ahead, despite the positive performance against the defending champions.
“You have to keep winning and keep motivating your team. In the T20 format, you cannot rely on one win because you have to keep winning,” the ICC press release quoted Kaur as saying.
“We are very happy with this first game, this game will set the tone for us but we know the upcoming ones are very important. Every victory is important, you do all the hard work for your team and each one is important. When you win the first game, you get a lot of positivity out of it," she said.
“We look to get runs in the first six overs. Mine and Smriti’s wickets are very important for the team and we didn’t play the right shot at that moment.Other players are there to support you and we are really happy Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues did the job for the team. You need partnerships, they played a very big role for us.It’s not always possible for your batting order to click but they did the job for us," Kaur continued.
Credit unsurprisingly went to Yadav for a four-over spell which saw Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes, Elysse Perry and Jess Jonassen all dismissed by the deceptive leg-spinner.
But defending a small target needed a team effort, Shikha Pandey chipping in with three wickets of her own as Australia fell from 67 for two to 115 all out.
Kaur admitted India’s effort was flawed in places but praised her side for the belief they showed in the key moments.
“We believed in our team, we have very good spinners who can always turn the game for us. We were discussing between innings, sometimes when a team gets partnerships you can get one wicket and turn the game for you," she said.
“Poonam did a great job for us, credit goes to our bowlers – they trusted themselves and won the game for us.Poonam is a very good T20 bowler, she always bowls for the team and it’s not easy to play, she is a little slower in the air.When you have to hit her, you have to show patience and very good skill. We used her when we needed a wicket and she did a great job," Kaur said.
The Indian women's cricket team will next lock horns with Bangladesh in their second group stage match of the showpiece event at the WACA Ground in East Perth on Monday.