Lanning and Harmanpreet have been T20I captains for a long period now. Lanning has led Australia in 100 of the 132 T20Is she has played. Harmanpreet has done the same for India in 96 of her 151 T20I outings. But when the two teams have met each other with Lanning and Harmanpreet at the helm, Australia have often had the upper hand, winning ten T20Is to India’s three. And one needs no reminding that while Lanning’s trophy cabinet is running out of space, India Women’s recent Under-19 victory is their only global title.
So, Sunday’s final is not just about Mumbai Indians taking on Delhi Capitals. Harmanpreet will want to finally get one past Lanning in a high-stakes game.
“Australia have been always doing well ever since I have started playing and they always have great captains,” Harmanpreet, seated next to Lanning at the WPL final pre-match press conference, said. “With Meg, they always have a good team and it’s easy for her to make those changes and come up with a good challenge. In this WPL, they have a balanced side and she is leading from the front.”
“The biggest thing to learn from her is that she is not someone who is dependent on players,” Harmanpreet said. “She is someone who leads from the front, like in this WPL. That’s something you want from a leader. When a leader takes responsibility from the front, the team does well. That’s something I always see and learn from her.
“She is not someone who gives up early, we will have to fight till the end and we are ready for that.”
That last line could also have been in reference to the semi-final last month, where for a large part of the chase India seemed in control before Australia wrested it back to knock them out.
Just like on that day, Lanning knows she has another fight on her hands. “Coming up against Harman is always a good challenge,” she said. “She has shown that she is an excellent leader and gets results, both individually and for her team. I always look forward to challenges like that. Always a great contest to come up against a team led by Harman and I am expecting exactly the same tomorrow night.”
So, once again in what is yet another landmark game in women’s cricket, Lanning and Harmanpreet are face to face. While the contest on the field will be intense, it has a celebratory feel to it as well. The smiles returned to both the captains’ faces as the presser drew to a close.
We are less than 24 hours from the first ever WPL final. And this time, whoever wins, whether it is Lanning or Harmanpreet, it will be a win for Indian cricket.
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