IT WAS a heartbreak for the Indian women’s team and the cricket fans in the Tricity as the Indian team lost by nine runs against England in the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup at Lord’s Cricket grounds in London on Sunday. While India’s semi-final record scorer Harmanpreet Kaur Bhullar scored a half-century and stitched together a 95-run partnership for third wicket with Poonam Raut, India lost the final for the second time.
“We will take a lot of positives from the final. Harmanpreet’s knock of 51 runs was as important as her century against Australia but it was unfortunate that India lost the match. Harmanpreet has been my favourite cricketer since she led Punjab senior team. The Indian team showed that they can perform at the world level. Reaching the final after playing the qualifiers and dominating the matches will mean good for Indian cricket. I hope that BCCI also launched IPL for women cricketers,” said Chandigarh cricketer Taniya Bhatia, who plays for Punjab and was also part of Indian women camp in Mumbai before the World Cup.
It was Bhullar’s heroic knock of 171 runs in the semi-final against Australia earlier this week which helped India march into the final. The Indian team had played their first final in World Cup in 2005 and Sunday’s final in the World Cup was their second final in the last 12 years. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also announced a cash award of Rs 5 lakh for Harmanpreet Kaur Bhullar. Singh spoke to Bhullar’s father Harmandar Bhullar on Sunday and appreciated Harmanpreet’s performance in the World Cup.
Later, Singh also said that the Punjab government would review its sports policy to induct players like Harmanpreet Kaur Bhullar into government service and she would be offered the post of DSP in Punjab Police. At Bhullar’s hometown Moga, trainees and her coach Kamaldeesh Pal Sodhi watched the match at the Gian Jyoti Academy, Tarapur village.
“More than 30 trainees at our academy played a match in the morning and later watched the match. Harmanpreet showed that she can play a big knock in the final too. It was disheartening to see her depart just after completing her half-century. This World Cup brought her in the limelight and she will only improve from now on. Trainees at our academy train without any support from state government and to produce a World Cup finalist is a huge achievement for us,” said Sodhi.
Harmanpreet’s long-time teammate and Punjab player Parveen Khan, who belongs to Moga and will be attending a coaching camp at IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali, this week, too, watched the match. “After her knock in the semi-final, all of my friends want to meet her. We talked on Friday and she was eager to give her best in the final despite suffering injury scare in the semi-finals. She was looking set for a big score today but fell at a crucial moment in the match. We hope there are more centuries to come from her bat,” said 26-year-old Khan, whose father works in a sugar mill at Moga.