Women's World T20 2018
Queen Kaur eyes Aussie repeat
Indian superstar set to take on Australia again following her record-breaking knock at last year’s World Cup
Laura Jolly in Guyana
16 November 2018, 09:00 AM AEST
She’s the power-hitting sensation who broke Australia’s hearts last year and India captain Harmanpreet Kaur is once again sizing up Meg Lanning’s team ahead of their World T20 clash on Saturday.
Few can hit the ball as far or as hard as Sydney Thunder star Harmanpreet, who was already blasted a century this tournament and looks to be in the best T20 form of her career.
While last year’s whirlwind 171no from 115 deliveries in the 50-over World Cup semi-final against the Aussies came almost out of the blue – her next best performance in that tournament was a 90-ball 60 – Harmanpreet heads into this match as the second highest run scorer in T20I cricket for 2018, having scored 604 runs at 43.14.
And while her trademarks monster sixes will be a welcome sight when she touches down on Australian soil at the end of the month for the opening weekend of the Rebel WBBL in Melbourne, Aussie fans will hope she can be contained when the Southern Stars and India go head to head at Guyana’s Providence Stadium in the early hours of Sunday morning AEDT.
“I’m looking quite confident (at the moment), but whatever has happened is history now and it’s a new day, a fresh day,” Harmanpreet said.
“I’m hoping if I get a start I can continue the same momentum.”
The allrounder still looks back on that semi-final in Derby last July as one of her fondest memories, but is aware that it’s never easy taking on the Australian attack.
“I really enjoyed that particular day, but now it’s history,” she said.
“This is a new game for us and I have to start from the very first ball.”
Harmanpreet captured the attention of cricket fans around Australia – and the world – when she struck a stunning cover drive for six during the opening weekend of WBBL|02.
She hit a total of eight sixes in her onslaught against New Zealand last Friday, each bigger than the last, and she explained that power hitting has formed a big part of her training.
“After my training I like to hit long shots,” she said.
“It always gives me confidence when I get my first few boundaries, you feel like you can clear it after that.
“I like to hit big shots and my game is hard hitting.”
Harmanpreet will appear in the WBBL for the third time this summer, after becoming the first Indian to sign with the league ahead of WBBL|02.
She credits her time with the Thunder for the improvements made to her game and has enjoyed working alongside the likes of captain Alex Blackwell, Rachael Haynes and West Indies skipper Stafanie Taylor.
“I always enjoy when I play for the Thunder,” she said.
“Last year we did really well and made the semis and hopefully this year we win.
“The WBBL has a really good standard, all the teams are very good … you never get a team where you can go and get easy runs.
“When you play with overseas players in these places you get a lot of confidence from them, you’re always learning something new and coming out of your comfort zone.
“When we (travel) as a team out of the country as it’s a different thing to playing alone with other overseas players.
“You learn a lot of things … and it’s really helped me.”
If anyone knows exactly the powers possessed by 29-year-old Harmanpreet, it’s her Thunder teammate and Australian vice-captain Haynes.
“In the one-day World Cup last year she was unbelievable against us,” Haynes told cricket.com.au.
“With the likes of Smriti Mandhana as well, who had an outstanding Super League (in the UK), they (India) are a very dangerous side and they seem to enjoy big tournaments.
“We know India’s extremely dangerous. They seem to be completely transformed from the team we played in the tri-series (in Mumbai) earlier in the year.
“They’re playing a different style of cricket, so we’re looking forward to that contest.”
Both teams have already qualified for the semi-finals, but top spot in Group B – and a confidence boost heading into the play-offs – will be on offer when the match gets underway at 2am on Sunday AEDT.
2018 ICC Women's World T20
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
November 9: Australia beat Pakistan by 52 runs
November 11: Australia beat Ireland by nine wickets
November 13: Australia beat New Zealand by 33 runs
November 17: Australia v India, Province Stadium
November 22: Semi-finals, Sir Vivian Richards Ground, Antigua
November 24: Final, Sir Vivian Richards Ground