Hit sixes to beat cramps: Harmanpreet Pak’s Diana Baig seeks World Cup high versus India
EXPLOSIVE Punjab girl powers India to record women’s World T20 total vs NZ, promises more action against Pakistan
PROVIDENCE(GUYANA): For an ordinary cricketer, battling unbearable stomach cramp could well mean retiring to the cooler confines of the dressing room but if it is Harmanpreet Kaur, she would just hit eight sixes in order to avoid running. Known for her penchant to raise the bar on biggest platforms, the skipper smashed her way to an unbeaten 103 off 51 balls in India’s comfortable 34-run win against New Zealand in the opening game of the ICC World T20. India scored the highest ever total in an ICC Women’s World T20 match, their mark of 194 for five eclipsing the previous total of 191 for four set by Australia in 2014.
“Yesterday, I was having little bit back problem,” Harmanpreet said after the match. “In the morning, I was not feeling well, when I came to the ground I was feeling a little low and getting some cramps.” The severe cramps hampered her running between the wickets as she came up with a different plan.
“When initially I was running twos, I got a little cramp, after that the physio gave me medicine, and (after) a little bit it settled down,” she said in a post-match chat.
“Then I thought instead of running too much, if I could I get more big shots, because you run too much, you get more cramps. Then I told Jemi (Jemimah Rodrigues), ‘if you give the strike to me, I can go for more big shots’,” the skipper revealed.
Harmanpreet, whose 171 against Australia in the ODI World Cup last year has become a stuff of legends, didn’t know while batting that she had gone on to become first T20 centurion from India. Declared player of the match, she said: “It was the first game, and to be honest, I was nervous, because I know no matter how much you played, when you’re playing such a high level, you always are nervous about it. And I’m also human I also get nervous. But yes, once I started middling the ball, after that I started just getting my shots.”
“I was not looking at how many runs I was getting, I was looking at how many we needed to win the game,” Harmanpreet said.
“We knew they have really good batters, they have Sophie Devine and (Suzie) Bates, we knew if we scored just 150, we may not (win the game).”
Harmanpreet felt that it was a good batting track where a set batswoman could score big. “I knew it was a good batting track, if I settle down, I can get the runs, that’s what I was thinking.”
New Zealand captain Amy Satterthwaite said: “It (Harmanpreet’s innings) is one of the best. I’ve been fortunate enough to see some pretty special innings from the likes of Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine. I’d say it was right up there. Her striking was outstanding and her ability to clear the boundary is something that’s pretty unique in a way.”
The Indian’s big-hitting prowess keeps bowlers all around the world on tenterhooks but the Indian skipper is hopeful that there might just be bigger and better things to come. “Yes, why not? Because every day is a learning day, today I learnt a lot.”
India clash with Pakistan on Sunday. The Pakistanis lost their opening match against Australia by 54 runs. In the face of disciplined bowling and a rising run rate, Pakistan’s top order failed to get into gear. Only Bismah Mahroof (26) and Umaima Sohail (20) got into double figures, and some late intent from Sana Mir (20 not out) shored up the total of 113 for eight but that was not enough. Deandra Dottin (WI) SA Ind Harmanpreet Kaur (Ind) NZ Basseterre Bengaluru 05-05-2010 11-07-2015 Providence 09-11-2018 CHANDIGARH: How do you plan to stop India, and especially Harmanpreet Kaur who is in murderous form? That must be the question going around in the World Twenty20 after her rampage on Friday. No team will be more stressed right now than Pakistan though. An India-pakistan cricket match will always be more than about cricket. And to make matters worse for them, Pakistan go into Sunday’s clash on the back of a huge loss to Australia that is bound to sow doubts in their mind, perhaps even prompt few changes to the squad.
On Sunday, spotlight will be on Pakistan spinners Anam Amin, Nida Dar and the experienced Sana Mir, who is the topranked bowler in ODIS. But pace will be equally crucial.
This is where Diana Baig, who was not picked for Friday’s match against Australia, could offer something different. Not only is she athletic, Baig also possesses a good record against India. In fact, her maiden ODI wicket was that of Smriti Mandhana.
“The World Cup is the biggest event that a cricketer can compete in. I had a good outing in the 2017 ODI World Cup in England which helped me secure a permanent berth in the Pakistan team. I feel a responsibility towards the team and my country. I have definitely become more confident and am able to apply and experiment in the field,” said Diana in an interview before the World Cup began.
Diana’s is a story of perseverance, of how a girl broke the shackles of a strictly patriarchal society in Gilgit — the northernmost administrative territory in Pakistan — to go on to play cricket and football. “I have been able to create a mind shift of people back in Gilgit. It all started with my immediate family members and then trickled down the relatives and far off family and friends and soon a number of girls were inspired to choose a sport,” said Diana, who has played 16 ODIS and 11 T20s for Pakistan and taken 13 and 7 wickets respectively.
Winning the World Twenty20 could be a perfect catalyst to further the cause of women’s cricket in Pakistan. And even though she wasn’t even born when Imran Khan guided Pakistan to their greatest sporting glory in the 1992 World Cup, Baig draws inspiration from Imran Khan the Pakistan Prime Minister.
“He is a legend. Under his leadership Pakistan won their only World Cup. It’s so inspiring to have a cricket legend as PM of the country,” said Diana, who believes a bilateral series against India will only help women’s cricket. “I enjoy playing against India as it brings out the best in you. And it would be great to host India women in Pakistan,” she said.
Harmanpreet Kaur became the first Indian woman to score a T20 century.