A dejected India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur took heart from her teams fight despite falling just short of beating Australia in the first semi-final of Womens T20 World Cup at Newlands Cricket Ground.
After Australia opener Beth Mooney made a fifty while Meg Lanning was unbeaten on 49 to post 172/4, India's top three aggregated only 15 runs among themselves.
Harmanpreet and Jemimah Rodrigues rose to the occasion by making 52 and 43 respectively, while spearheading the chase with a brilliant 69-run stand off 41 balls on Thursday night.
But the duo falling in 4.2 overs post the ten-over mark meant India could never recover from it and ended up at 167/8 in 20 overs, falling so close yet so far, yet again in ending the Australian juggernaut in a global tournament.
"We always back ourselves whenever we play against Australia because we know we have beaten them two times in the World Cup and then once in the home series.
So, we know when we play good cricket, we can beat any team and today we were looking in good shape, but unfortunately, we didn't get the win. The good thing is the match went to the last over, we didn't give up easily.
That's what we discussed, that we will fight to the end and it was good to see that we did that," Harmanpreet said in the post-match press conference. After the ten-over mark, Jemimah fell while trying to ramp a short ball over Alyssa Healy's head and gave a thin edge behind to the keeper.
Harmanpreet then got a reprieve at 37 when Alyssa dropped the catch while stretching to her right side. But in the 15th over, Harmanpreet was unfortunately run-out when her bat got stuck while trying to reach the crease.
Her dismissal turned out to be the turning point for India, who had looked good by then to chase down 173. "It was a disappointment because the way I was batting, maybe that was the only way I could have got out.
Otherwise, the way I was hitting the ball, I knew how to take this chase till the end. From the Australian team's body language, it looked like they had given up.
But the moment I got out, the momentum shifted from India to Australia, I personally felt it was a turning point," the India captain said. Harmanpreet also vowed that her side will take a lot of learnings from the loss when they next step onto a World Cup stage.
The next edition of Women's T20 World Cup will be held in Bangladesh in 2024. "We have to accept whatever happened but otherwise, I'm happy with the way we played cricket throughout this tournament.
We saw a lot of positives in this tournament and whenever we come next time to play any ICC tournament, we'll think about these things," she said.