Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav has been in fine form throughout the tournament and will be the key as India takes on Australia in the final of the Women's T20 World Cup.
With nine wickets so far, Poonam has run through teams, often helping India bounce back from difficult situations and take control of the game.
But it all started with a dressing-down from her captain after the leg-spinner was carted for six by Australia’s Alyssa Healy from her fourth delivery. She dismissed the opener the next ball, and hasn’t looked back since.
“Harmanpreet has been of immense support,” said Poonam.
“When I got hit for a six in the first over, she came to me and said, ‘Poonam, you’re one of the most experienced players in the team, and we expect better of you.’
“So, that kind of stirred something within me. I told myself if my captain has that much faith in me, I should be able to make a comeback.
“I took a wicket in the very next ball, and didn’t look back since. Now when I look back at that moment, it means so much in the context of my individual performance and run to the Final.”
Later in that pulsating opener at Sydney Showground, Poonam came within a whisker of the third hat-trick in Women’s T20 World Cup history, dismissing Rachael Haynes and Ellyse Perry before Jess Jonassen was dropped.
Poonam, who is India’s highest-ever wicket-taker in the format, was ruled out of her side’s pre-tournament tri-series final against Australia due to injury.
She revealed that she spent her time on the sidelines studying top batters .
“I had not even played the tri-series, so thanks to the selectors for showing faith in me,” she said.
“When I was on the sidelines, I worked quite hard knowing the quality of competition in the World Cup.
“So, I would watch a lot of videos of the Australian and the England teams and tried to find out their weaknesses. My preparation that way was good, so despite the pressure, the nerves I was able to do well.”
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