The morale-shattering World Cup defeat is playing havoc with the mind of a crestfallen India captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who doesn’t know when will she overcome the near-yet-so-far feeling.
Harmanpreet’s bat got locked while trying to complete a second run during the semifinal against Australia on Thursday and that proved to be the turning point of the game as the untimely dismissal of the skipper led to their heartbreaking five-run defeat.
“It is very difficult to control myself. I don’t know. Right now, I am sitting in a hangover,” Harmanpreet said during a media interaction.
She wore dark shades to hide her tears during post-match presentation ceremony.
It has been a case of near misses for this Indian team, having narrowly lost the ODI World Cup final to England in 2017 and the CWG final to Australia in Birmingham in 2022.
No one knows the pain more than the skipper.
“I don’t understand how it is going on. But after this, when we go to the room, we will know how many more days it will take. But I think we played good cricket. That’s all I can say,” said the woman from Moga, who battled high fever and dehydration to score a scintillating 52 off 34 balls to set up a platform but the likes of Deepti Sharma let slip the opportunity.
Harmanpreet and Jemimah Rodrigues had set it up nicely by adding 69 from 41 balls but one can’t ignore the fact that Deepti, considered, India’s No. 1 all-rounder, once again failed to display any significant power-hitting skills, scoring 20 off 17 balls.
Former England men’s team captain Nasser Hussain termed her run-out as “schoolgirl error”.
“He (Nasser) said that? Okay. I don’t know. That is a way of thinking. I don’t know. But sometimes it happens. I have seen many times in cricket when batters are taking a single like that and sometimes the bat is stuck there. But obviously, I will take it as we were unlucky today.” Harmanpreet felt the only way she could have been dismissed as a freak run out and as luck would have it, that is exactly what happened.
“Definitely, it was a disappointment because the way I was batting, maybe that was the only chance to know how I can get out. If my bat didn’t get stuck and I would’ve easily finished that run “If I had stayed till the last moment, we could have definitely finished the match one over earlier as we had the momentum.” The skipper didn’t take names but it was evident she was referring to Deepti when she spoke about batting with responsibility and a positive approach once she got out.
“The moment I got out, the moment the momentum shifted from India to Australia, I personally felt it was a turning point. It is disappointing because we shouldn’t have lost like this. Because in the end, after coming so close, we could have batted with more responsibility and with a positive approach,” the skipper said.
Once she got out, she felt that young Richa Ghosh and seasoned Deepti, who has now played international cricket for a decade, will finish the game.
“Even after that (her run-out), you know, Deepti was there, Richa was there. I had a self-belief that they can do it too because Richa has also batted well in all the matches till now. After I got out, we played 7-8 dot balls in the middle and the match turned there,” she lamented.