Mumbai Indians captain Harmanpreet Kaur said leadership brings the best out of her after the right-handed batter lit up the Women’s Premier League opening match with a scintillating 65-run knock.
Kaur’s onslaught and her 89-run stand for the fourth wicket with Amelia Kerr powered Mumbai Indians to a massive total of 207/5, and its bowlers outclassed Gujarat Giants by dismissing it for just 64 to record a 143-run win at the DY Patil Stadium on Saturday.
Kaur told the media after the game that adapting quickly to the pitch was key to her team’s win.
“You never enter a game thinking it will be a one-sided contest,” she said.
“You always come in with the mindset that you cannot take the opposition lightly. What our bowling department did today was something worth appreciating. I think we got a good start, and when that happens, you can continue with it.
“Almost all deliveries were spot on — when we were batting, we were able to figure out which areas to bowl. Our bowlers adapted quickly, and (that’s why) it looked like a one-sided game,” Kaur added.
The right-handed batter accepted that captaincy brings out the best in her.
She said, “I have been captaining teams from about the time I started playing cricket, it does not bring any extra pressure on me but makes me feel more involved. I get into a zone which helps me bring out good performances.” “I am someone who thinks a lot; my mind is continuously (in the process of) thinking, giving thoughts and ideas to me. I think when I am calmer, and in the moment, it gives me a lot of clarity (as to) what I have to do.
“It is not easy for me to be in that zone is not easy for me, but I have to just keep talking to myself, I do not need to think too much, just stay in the present and keep backing myself,” Kaur explained.
On her way to the half-century, Kaur struck 14 boundaries.
“When I am in that zone, I am more clear about which are areas I have to pick. Things get easier for me in this zone, and today I think it was one of those days when I was more relaxed because the team is so brilliant, and everyone is so positive. We are all backing each other,” added Kaur, revealing that she only got one day to train for the WPL.
Gujarat Giants vice-captain Sneh Rana admitted that her side was outplayed in all departments, but there was no reason to feel let down after they made plenty of mistakes on the field and with the ball, which allowed Mumbai Indians to run away with the contest.
Rana said, “The atmosphere was a lot different, and it was a big match for a lot of people. We have a lot of players from the domestic circuit.
“Yes, fielding played a major role in today’s match, and I think it is a learning (experience) for all of us. There are some who soak in the atmosphere quickly, but some others take their time.” “We will speak about the mistakes that we made after this game. But we have given a clear message to all the players that they need to keep their heads high all the time. The tournament has just begun now, we need to cheer up. We will come back stronger,” she added.
Rana said Gujarat Giants never lost the intent despite being outmatched.
“We got left behind in all the departments. All the girls cooperated with each other nicely, we lost a lot of wickets at the start, but our intent was always there to change the target,” she said.
Rana heaped praise on Kaur’s innings in the first half of the match.
“She played incredibly well, I think for the past few series she has been in great form. This is a great thing for Indian cricket. The way she showcased her class today, the way she played a captain’s innings, it was brilliant,” Rana expressed.
There was, however, no update on Beth Mooney’s injury which prevented her from coming out to bat again.
“It is yet to be updated by the physio,” Rana said.
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