By virtue of their unbeaten run in the group stage, Team India reached their maiden World T20 final on Thursday after rain refused to relent at the Sydney Cricket Ground, hence denying the first semifinal clash of the Women's T20 event. India emerged as an eventual finalist as per ICC's rule leaving England gutted. The Women in Blue now have the defending champions Australia standing as the only obstacle between them and the elusive trophy.
And Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur will look to make it doubly special for her. While her parents will be present at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to watch their daughter captain India in the team's maiden World T20 final appearance, Harmanpreent will also be celebrating her 31st birthday on Sunday. Harmanpreet will, in fact, become the first captain ever, male or female, to lead his/her team in an ICC World event final (ODI/T20I/U19 CWCs, Champions Trophy). The Indian skipper will turn 31 on International Women's Day.
It was double delight for Harmanpreet on Thursday as well as for the first time in her international career, her parents were in attendance at the venue.
"It was the first time they were going to watch me playing cricket since my dad did when I was in school, and my mother has never watched me play cricket," she said at the post-match conference. "They wanted to see today's game, but unfortunately, they didn't get to watch."
"It means a lot because from day one I wanted them to watch me playing cricket and today I got this opportunity. They have come here to watch all of us playing, and I hope we get all support from all the parents and try to win this tournament."
India had previously reached the semifinal in 2009 and in 2018 but their performances fell short in both the occasions, denying them a chance to reach the final. India will now take on Meg Lanning's side in Melbourne, whom they had defeated in the very first game of the ongoing tournament.
"We were hoping we'd get there because everybody's feeling very positive about women's cricket at the moment. We'll get a lot of attention back home because everyone wants us to play good cricket and they're expecting us to do well."
"We will try to give our best. If we win, definitely we'll get a lot of attention and a lot of love from back home. Hopefully, like we got in the 2017 World Cup Final, we'll get a very good day for women's cricket," Harmanpreet concluded.
Australia reached the final after defeating South Africa in the second semifinal on Thursday by seven runs after rain cut short the match to 13 overs.