India’s Harmanpreet Kaur in action at the Women’s T20 World Cup. | Photo Credit: AP
Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur on Monday said she is looking forward to the likely semi-final of the Women’s T20 World Cup against defending champions Australia.
India qualified for the last four when they beat Ireland by five runs in a rain-adjusted target in their final group match at St George’s Park in Gqeberha.
India join England as qualifiers from Group Two with both sides having won three matches.
England, however, still have to play Pakistan in Cape Town on Tuesday. Victory will guarantee them the top spot but they are likely group winners even if they lose due to a superior net run rate.
Australia have already won Group Two, so they will almost certainly face Group One runners-up India in the semi-finals.
said Ms. Kaur that India took confidence from playing Australia in a series in India last season, despite winning just one — and that was a super over.
He pointed out that all teams, including champion sides like Australia, are under pressure in World Cup games.
“The brand of cricket we played (against Australia) gave us a lot of confidence,” said Ms. Kaur. “We have a fair idea of how we should do the next game and we will make our plans accordingly.”
Smriti Mandhana hit a T20 international career-best 87 as India made 155 for six. Ireland were 54 for two from 8.2 overs, with Gaby Lewis 32 not out, when the rain ended.
A strong, swirling wind made conditions difficult and Ms. Mandhana was dropped four times in the outfield during a 56-ball innings that included nine fours and three sixes.
Teenage prodigy Shafali Verma struggled again at the top of the batting order, making 24 off 29 balls, but Ms. Kaur that he remained a key player.
“We always encourage her to express herself. Whenever she clicks we are always into the game. In practice she is batting well. We know how important she is,” said Ms. Kaur.
Ireland made a disastrous start to their reply when Amy Hunter was run out on the first ball of the innings, attempting a second run after hitting the ball at midwicket.
Four balls later Prendergast was bowled by Renuka Thakur without scoring.
But Ms. Lewis and captain Laura Delany, who had earlier taken three for 33, shared a spirited unbeaten partnership of 53.
Ms. admitted Delany that they didn’t know how close they came to a possible winning situation.
“Times change so fast,” he said.
Although Ireland lost all their matches, Ms. Delany that they have made progress since their first World T20 in 2018.
“We were not on a level playing field then,” she said. “Now we have contracts and things are heading in the right direction.”
said Ms. Delany that Ireland need to work hard on some aspects of their game, particularly the fielding.
“We have to put ourselves under more pressure in training and play with freedom and confidence,” he said.