Jhulan Goswami sees just one hurdle in front of Harmanpreet Kaur’s team in their quest for glory at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup — the mental war against the battle-hardened Australians.
India go into the final against the hosts at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday with an all-win record, though the semi-final versus England was washed out.
“The Indians have done all the hard work. They just need to win the mental battle against Australia in the final. If they can do that, the team will surely bring the T20 World Cup to India. We all are looking forward to that,” Jhulan, a stalwart of women’s cricket in India and a former captain, told The Telegraph on Saturday.
“India have won all their matches in this T20 World Cup so far, I believe they would finish the tournament on a high. This is our first appearance in the final of the T20 World Cup and we should make it a memorable one,” Jhulan said.
India beat Australia in the opening game of the tournament. Jhulan thinks that it would work as a confidence-booster for Harmanpreet’s team when they take on the same opponents in the final. “We won against them in the very first game and we have the capability to win against them again. The experience from that first match would definitely help us when we face them in the final,” she said.
The 37-year-old, who has retired from T20Is but plays one-dayers, had special praise for in-form opener Shafali Verma and expects a special performance from the youngster on Sunday as well.
“Shafali has been giving fantastic starts to India. If you start attacking your opponent from the beginning, it becomes very difficult for them. I hope she gives another explosive start to us in the final as well,” she said.
About the Indian bowlers, the medium pacer, who has 321 international wickets, said: “Poonam Yadav, Shikha Pandey and the others bowlers are also doing fantastic job and putting opponent batters under pressure. I hope they would continue the good show in the final,” she said.
Team game would be the key to overcome Australia, the four-time champions. “Personal targets should be kept aside. We should play as a team. I think that will definitely help us perform better,” she said.
Jhulan also had some tips for the Indians. “No need to do something extra, just do what you have been doing. No need to think about the opponents, think about yourself and play according to your strengths. Take it as just another match.”
“We should not panic thinking that we are playing the most important game of the tournament. The team reached Australia much before the T20 World Cup and played a tri-nation series as well. That helped the players acclimatise with the conditions.
“We played against strong teams like Australia and England in the tri-nation tournament. That helped assess our strength and weaknesses.
“Before that, the India A team toured Australia and some of the players who are in India’s T20 World Cup squad, were in the ‘A’ squad too. So that experience also counts. Overall, the team has had good preparation for the mega event. The Board has provided enough opportunities to the team. Now it’s up to the players show their talent,” Jhulan said.