Harmanpreet”s words stirred me up: Poonam

It was a stinging rebuke from skipper Harmanpreet Kaur during the tournament opener against Australia that fired up Poonam Yadav, who eventually played an instrumental role in India’s march to their maiden Women’s T20 World Cup final.

The 28-year-old Indian has emerged as India’s wrecker-in-chief in tournament with nine wickets, including a four-wicket haul against defending champions Australia in the opening match.

“When I got hit for a six in the first over, she (Harmanpreet) came to me and said, ‘Poonam, you’re one of the most experienced players in the team, and we expect better from you’,” Poonam was quoted as saying by the ICC.

“So, that kind of stirred something within me. I told myself if my captain has that much faith in me, I should be able to make a comeback.

“I took a wicket in the very next ball, and didn’t look back since. Now when I look back at that moment, it means so much in the context of my individual performance and run to the Final,” said the bowler from Agra.

India’s highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket, Poonam had missed the preceding tri-series, involving Australia, due to an injury in her left index finger.

Poonam said she used her time on the sidelines to analyse the weakness of her opponents which came handy during the World Cup.

“I had not even played the tri-series, so thanks to the selectors for showing faith in me,” she said.

“When I was on the sidelines, I worked quite hard knowing the quality of competition in the World Cup.

“So, I would watch a lot of videos of the Australian and the England teams and tried to find out their weaknesses. My preparation that way was good, so despite the pressure, the nerves I was able to do well,” she added.