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Harmanpreet Kaur defends Shafali Verma, says defeat not the youngster’s fault

Both Healy and Mooney were dropped by Indian fielders within the powerplay overs.

SNS | New Delhi |

After the Indian women’s team lost the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final to Australia on Sunday, Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur has defended ‘Find of the tournament’ Shafali Verma after she failed to grab a straight forward catch of Alyssa Healy (75 off 39 deliveries) when she was batting at 9 which perhaps cost India the game.  She then failed to give India a solid start despite being in good form throughout the tournament.

In fact, Healy’s opening partner Beth Mooney also got an early chance and then both of them made India pay for dropping them early on. While Healy stole the show with a splendid half-century, Mooney played till the innings to take Australia to 184.

In response, India needed Shafali to fire but the batswoman who ends the tournament with the highest strike rate among players who have faced 50 or more deliveries was dismissed in the first over itself for just 2 runs.

Later, she was seen crying as India experienced a heartbreaking defeat post remaining unbeaten in the tournament till the final. However, Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur stated that the result, as well as the drop catch, would only be a learning experience for the youngster.

“She’s only 16, she’s playing her first World Cup. She did really, really well and performed for us,” said Kaur as quoted by IANS.

“For a 16-year-old kid, it’s difficult to keep thinking positively and stay in the game. It’s a learning lesson for her but it could happen to anyone. We can’t blame her because there were others also in her position,” she added.

“We gave chances to batters in great form and it’s difficult for bowlers to come back when that happens,” she further stated.

“We weren’t feeling under pressure but unfortunately we were unable to create those chances. It’s a lesson for all of us, we have to be at 100 per cent when we’re fielding because that’s the most important part of cricket,” she added.

Harmanpreet added that the 2017 defeat was even more disappointing than this one as the margin of defeat was so less in the earlier match.

“I guess 2017 was more disappointing because that was so close,” she said.

“We didn’t play the cricket we expected of ourselves this time,” the 31-year-old said.

“As our team is quite young, we did really well in the league games. We reached the semis and the Final this year. If we keep working and improving, maybe in the future we can win,” she added.

“There was still excitement. It was a great day, we definitely enjoyed it. Winning and losing is part of the game, one team has to do both. At the end of the day, it was a great moment for us. We didn’t field well, we need to learn from today’s performance. When you are playing a great level of cricket, you cannot drop the chances and we were not up to the mark.”

“We will take this seriously and when we come to play next time, we will be one of the best fielding sides,” she concluded.