India captain Harmanpreet Kaur admitted that her side were made to work really hard by Thailand to emerge victorious by 74 runs in the first semifinal of Women's Asia Cup at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Though a 28-ball 42 by Shafali Verma powered India to 148/6, Thailand made a strong comeback in the last five overs, conceding just 31 runs and picking three wickets, including that of Harmanpreet, to stop them from touching the 150-run mark.
"We batted really well, Thailand bowled quite well, not giving us easy runs or loose balls. We really had to work hard. That partnership (between her and Jemimah) helped us to get a score on the board. When you're not playing a lot, you need runs to get confidence.
Shafali and Jemi looked good. We just need to continue that," said Harmanpreet in the post-match presentation ceremony.With the ball, India thoroughly dominated Thailand's batters, with Deepti Sharma's economical spell of 3-7, including 21 dot balls and breaking the back of the chase to set the base for a huge 74-run win to reach the final of the Women's Asia Cup for eighth straight time.
"She (Deepti) is someone who is willing to bowl at any stage. Having such a bowler always gives confidence. If you are able to get 150, that gives confidence, it was a total team performance. We are ready for the final.
Whoever comes, we just need to watch and plan accordingly," added Harmanpreet.Shafali, who got the Player of the Match award, was happy with her contribution to India's win in the semi-final. "Now, I am a bit confident, I will keep working hard and I'm always happy to contribute to the team.
The wicket is good to bat. Smriti did well, Jemi also did well. We have to work on partnerships. We hope the weather stays good for the final."Naruemol Chaiwai, the Thailand skipper, acknowledged that their run to the semifinal was a great experience for her team.
In the league stage, Thailand had also earned a shock victory over Pakistan."It's a good experience for us. We have a talented side, and we'll go upward as we play more. We have to show more intent and enjoy ourselves a bit more.
There were many positives. We play every game with fun and joy, we play every match to win. If we find joy in every game, that's more important for us If we can do that, we'll be happy."