Women’s World T20: One loss doesn’t decide whether we’re good or bad – Harmanpreet Kaur
Mithali Raj scored fifties against Ireland and Pakisan in her only innings of the Women's World T20. (Image: ICC)

India Women captain Harmanpreet Kaur has defended the decision to leave out their all-time leading run-getter in T20Is, Mithali Raj, for their ICC Women’s World Twenty20 semi-final against England Women in Antigua while lauding the team’s unbeaten run to the knockouts.

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India were beaten by eight wickets  to crash out of the tournament following five unbeaten matches in a row before today, with the decision to bench Mithali, who scored 56 and 51 in India’s wins over Pakistan Women and Ireland Women in her only two innings of the Women’s World T20, raising eyebrows.

“It’s not about not selecting Mithali, it’s about keeping a winning combination,” said Harmanpreet at the toss, referring to the last league match which India won over Australia to top their group.

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As it turned out, India were bowled out for 112 in 19.3 overs to exit the World T20 with an eight-wicket loss to England. Taniya Bhatia (11), Smriti Mandhana (34), Jemimah Rodrigues (26) and Harmanpreet (16) were the only players to get into double-figures as India surrendered their last eight wickets for 23 runs in a stunning collapse.

Harmanpreet Kaur made 16 as India Women lost eight wickets for 23 runs.
Harmanpreet Kaur made 16 as India Women lost eight wickets for 23 runs. (Image: ICC)

After the loss, Harmanpreet maintained her stance on leaving out Mithali while commending her players for getting to the semi-finals unbeaten.

“Whatever we decided, it was for the team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,” she said. “One game doesn’t decide whether we are a good team or a bad team. We have a very young team and it was a learning curve for us. I’m really proud of all the girls. We will do well in upcoming tournaments. Sometimes you have to change your game.

“They [England] read the wicket really well and bowled accordingly. The credit goes to them. We have learned a lot over the course of the tournament. It was not an easy total to chase. Our bowlers bowled quite well, and we did well to stretch the match till the 18th over. We still have to work on our mental strength – learning to play under pressure will be a key thing to learn for us.”