“It means a lot for us, we’ve been working hard for so long,” Harmanpreet said. “This is a great platform for us. Participating for the first time [in the CWG], if we can do well [in the final], a lot of things can change for us.
“We never thought or wondered what we are playing for and what we aren’t playing for. [Gold] medal coming or not coming isn’t in our hands. We just want to play well. The way we’ve played so far, we’ve learnt a lot.”
“Until the last moment, we believed we could win, even though they had a couple of strong partnerships,” she said. “Even when they were going well, no one gave up. We’ve been working on this for a while. If you keep doing this, results will come at some point along the way, and I’m glad it is showing now.
“It was an important match. It feels good that that everyone stepped up to their responsibilities with the bat, ball and on the field. It’s important that all of them remain together in such matches. In the last over, if you see, our fast fielders took the responsibility of fielding in the deep. That shows how keen you are to do well for the team.”
Harmanpreet suggested that the key to India becoming serious contenders for global titles in recent times, even if they won any, was because they were trying to embrace pressure and not be intimidated by the big stage. She credited the support staff for trying to bring about this change and also for “bringing in new plans”.
“I’m a great fan of knowing how other teams are doing,” she said. “If you’re aware of it, you can plan. We need someone who can help us like that and I’m happy it’s working for us.”
Earlier, India’s pacers had been taken for plenty, and Harmanpreet knew bringing herself on at that stage would have not have added much, given India had already used two offspinners in Deepti and Rana.
“When we brought her [Verma] in, there were two offspinners bowling,” Harmanpreet explained. “If we would have brought in a third [offspinner], it would have been easy for England. Shafali mixes it up well, she is always keen to bowl. You need someone who enjoys bowling and wants the ball in tough situations.
“Whenever I ask her if she wants to bowl, she gets excited. Under pressure, sometimes, a bowler may not be able to give it their best, but her excitement motivates the others too. It sends out a message that if someone who isn’t a regular bowler is so keen to bowl and make a difference, it gives extra responsibility to the [main] bowlers.”
“The reason why we batted [after winning the toss] is we wanted to dominate in the first six,” Harmanpreet said. “We were ready to lose one wicket, but we needed to utilise the first six overs on a fresh wicket. The way Smriti batted was outstanding to watch. We were looking for more than 150. In games like these, you need to have [a big] total on the board.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo