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Women’s Asia Cup 2022 final – Harmanpreet Kaur

India takes on Sri Lanka in the Women’s Asia Cup final on Saturday, and Harmanpreet Kaur spoke of her players’ strength of character for the swift transition from pleasant England to steamy Sylhet, getting going after just one training session.

“Conditions and wickets were completely different [in England], which is completely different here. We only have one day to change gears,” said Harmanpreet. “In England we got good shots and the ball was swinging. But when we got here we had to change our plans. But the great thing was that all players took up the challenge.

“We only have one” [warm-up] session before the game, so it shows how strong we are as a team. The character is building. It’s something I also really appreciated in the team meetings. We enjoy our cricket.”

Along the way, they tinkered a bit with the team combination and Harmanpreet said the idea was to try different things with the aim of finding new match winners. “When we came to Bangladesh, we discussed that we should look for another match winner,” she said. “We don’t want to be dependent on one or two players. We want every player to go the extra mile and win the game for the team. I’m glad we get match winners in every game.”

Sri Lanka finished the competition phase in third place, but a narrow victory over Bangladesh and then in the semi-final against Pakistan makes them dangerous opponents.

“We saw a lot of positives on their side, especially they don’t give up until the last ball,” said Harmanpreet. “Their fight is great to watch. When a team plays good cricket, you can always learn from them.”

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“We have tried many combinations. The World Cup [in South Africa next year] is around the corner. It was a great platform to test, and we’re happy with how we took advantage of this opportunity.”

Harmanpreet Kaur

Chamari Athapaththu, who sat next to Harmanpreet, returned the compliment: “India is the favorite team in the tournament. They have good players. But as captain I don’t want to feel pressure for tomorrow’s game. Who plays good cricket and on that day make fewer mistakes, the team can win. We are sticking to our plans.”

Plans worked out well in the semi-final against Pakistan, which they won by one point, to reach the Asian Cup final for the first time since 2008.

“It was a crucial game for us as we haven’t played the Asia Cup final for 14 years. Tomorrow we will have the chance,” said Athapaththu. “We want to play good cricket because all the media and fans [back home] will look.”

The Asian Cup was not only about the big teams from the region, but also about Thailand, Malaysia and the UAE. Thailand in particular impressed, beating Malaysia, the UAE and Pakistan in one of the biggest results in their cricketing history.

“This tournament is a great opportunity for all of us, especially teams like the UAE, Malaysia and Thailand. It was great to see Thailand play in this tournament,” said Harmanpreet. “This is a platform where you can test your limitations, what kind of cricket you want to play in the future.

“We were always testing ourselves, putting pressure on ourselves, to see how we can go about it. We tried a lot of combinations. The World Cup [in South Africa next year] is around the corner. It was a great platform to test and we are happy with how we took advantage of this opportunity.”

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