Charlotte Edwards on Harmanpreet Kaur dismissal – ‘We’d back her to take that shot on’

Needing 16 off 13, Harmanpreet danced down the track to Shreyanka Patil and holed out to long-on. From there, Mumbai could just manage 10 for 2 in the last two overs and fell short to relinquish their title.

“You could see the lift [Harmanpreet’s wicket] gave the RCB,” Edwards said after the match. “Equally we would back Harman to take that shot on. If it goes for six, we need 12 [10] in the last two and we are in the driving seat. I thought it had gone for six when she had hit it.

“You’ve just got to back the player to do what they think is the best in that situation. Who am I to tell Harmanpreet Kaur what’s the right thing to do when she has performed the way she has in this tournament? At that point that’s her shot, that’s her strength. If she hits it for six, we’d be sitting on our seats… but still, with 16 needed off two overs, we should still win that game. It was a pivotal moment in the game.”

Harmanpreet had already survived a stumping chance first ball of the 18th over after she charged down and swung at a tossed-up ball from Patil. But four balls later Patil managed to outfox her India captain.

“For 38 overs of the game we controlled it, we just didn’t control the last 12 balls of the game and ultimately that cost us a finals’ spot,” Edwards said. “We would have taken 135 at the start of the game with the short boundary on that [off] side. We got to give credit to RCB because they fought back and never gave up. The game is won or lost on small margins sometimes – if Harman hits that for six, it is our game. Unfortunately, it was not to be tonight. It’s bitterly disappointing, and harder for the players. They are going to re-live those moments for a number of years.

“I am just disappointed because we played well. We responded well from the other day and played good cricket for 38 overs and probably let ourselves down in 12 balls.”

Edwards also heaped praise on Harmanpreet’s captaincy and credited her for bringing the best out of her players.

“She is very calm. She is very quiet,” Edwards said. “She doesn’t say too much. But when she does speak it is very much worth listening to. That’s why I love working with her. She is very good around the players, and it is very sad that our tournament has ended the way it has. You can, kind of, cope with it when you have not played very well. But I think we played well today, we put a lot of things right from the other day. But wasn’t quite good enough, and that’s the end of our tournament.”

After Harmanpreet’s dismissal, S Sajana was stumped trying to take on Sophie Molineux while Pooja Vastrakar missed a legspinner from Asha Sobhana to be out in the same manner. Amelia Kerr, batting at No. 5, stayed unbeaten on 27 off 25 but Mumbai failed to hit a single boundary in the last three overs. It was only the second loss for Mumbai in a run-chase across two seasons of the WPL in 11 attempts.

“For some of these players, we quite quickly forget, someone like Sajana has only played domestic cricket,” Edwards said of the learnings for the less-experienced players. “This is the biggest stage these players play on. This is the WPL semi-final. Pressure does take a toll, and that’s why you want your top players there at the end of the game. It was not to be today. The players will be better for this experience, but it is not easy because we have lost a game we should have won. The players in the dressing room are hurting now but will definitely learn from this and be stronger.”

Edwards didn’t think the lower-order’s lack of game time in the middle was a possible reason for the defeat.

“They have all had opportunities throughout the season. Sajana opened the batting the other day. So, they are not short of batting practice. They have all had some time out in the middle. That is not the reason we lost today. Again, we didn’t play the final 12 balls as well as we should have. I am proud of the team, we fought back pretty well with the ball and were in control with the bat.”

Edwards spoke highly of Patil, who picked up 2 for 16 in her four overs, while talking of the Indian players who impressed her across this season.

“I loved the opening bowler from Gujarat, Shabnam Shakil. Bright talent, 16 years old, I thought she performed brilliantly. Titas [Sadhu] from Delhi… I think the fast bowlers really stand out for me, because I think that is something India will look at moving forward.

“Shreyanka Patil, I love the way she plays her cricket. She comes to the wicket and you always feel like you are in a battle with her. Yastika [Bhatia] for us, I think she has got a fine future ahead. The more [the WPL] is seen across India, more girls are going to be inspired to play the game.”

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Sudarshanan7

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