Harmanpreet banks on familiarity with Bangladesh conditions ahead of Women’s T20 World Cup

India captain Harmanpreet Kaur discussed this year's ICC Women’s T20 World Cup during the fixture launch event in Bangladesh.

The Indian team will embark on the quest for their maiden ICC Women’s title when they travel to Bangladesh for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2024 later this year.

The fixtures for the mega-event which begins in October were announced earlier this month and Harmanpreet was on hand as India were drawn alongside Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Harmanpreet Kaur looks ahead to Bangladesh | Women's T20 World Cup

Harmanpreet Kaur looks ahead to Bangladesh | Women's T20 World Cup

India received an excellent tune up for this year's tournament with a recent 5-0 whitewash of Banglafeh away from home and Harmanpreet belives this will hold her side in good stead ahead of the ninth edition of the T20 showcase later this year.

ALSO READ: Groups, fixtures revealed for Women's T20 World Cup 2024

Harmanpreet is optimistic that the conditions in Bangladesh, resembling those in India, will play to their advantage during the T20 World Cup.

“Yeah, it’s a bit similar to India and hopefully, in these conditions, we should do well,” remarked Harmanpreet.

Harmanpreet Kaur’s journey to the summit | CWC22

India and Bangladesh have become familiar foes lately in international cricket, with an intense rivalry simmering in recent years between the two Asian neighbours.

Since the last T20 World Cup in 2023, India have travelled to Bangladesh on two occasions – in July last year for a three-match T20I series and an ODI series as well as the recent five-match T20I series.

Acknowledging Bangladesh's home advantage and the backing of their supportive crowd, Harmanpreet reflected on the formidable challenge that awaits her team at the T20 World Cup.

“Bangladesh will be the home team and they will know the conditions better than us,” Harmanpreet noted.

“Obviously crowd will be supporting them. But playing against them is always an exciting event. And hopefully, we will do well against them.”

Having played each other frequently, Harmanpreet was particularly taken in by Marufa Akter, who has impressed since making her debut in 2022 at just 17 years of age.

Teenage sensation Marufa Akter snares two in two | Women's T20WC 2023

Bangladesh's teenage sensation Marufa Akter rips through the Sri Lanka middle order with two wickets in as many deliveries at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023.

Marufa's talent was evident as she represented Bangladesh in the inaugural U19 Women’s T20 World Cup in January 2023 in South Africa, earning a spot in the senior T20 World Cup squad the following month.

When asked which player she would choose to have on the Indian side from Bangladesh, Harmanpreet picked the 19-year-old pace sensation.

“From the Bangladesh team, I would choose Marufa Akter. She looks very exciting talent to me. And if she is in our team, she can do really well for us.”

At the Women’s T20 World Cup, India are placed in Group A alongside Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and will begin their campaign against the White Ferns on 5 October.

While every team in the group presents a tough challenge, Harmanpreet highlighted Australia as the opponent she is most looking forward to playing against, who they will face in their last group stage game on 13 October.

The Australia women’s team have been a powerhouse in international cricket, winning six T20 World Cup titles to go with eight 50-over trophies.

India fuelled by 2020 Final heartbreak | Women's T20WC 2023

India are fuelled by memories of their loss in T20 World Cup Final in 2020, as they look to go one better in South Africa at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023

In recent years, Harmanpreet’s side have become a strong competition for Australia but the team from Down Under has proven to be too strong, toppling India on the grand stage at the Women’s T20 World Cup Final in 2020 as well as the Commonwealth Games Final in 2022. India also lost of Australia in the semi-finals of the last T20 World Cup in 2023.

“I think it will be Australia (who I look forward to facing) because they are very competitive,” said Harmanpreet. “And if we do well against them, it will give us a lot of confidence and I’m really looking forward to playing against them.”

When put on the spot to pick the semi-finalists at the upcoming event, Harmanpreet predicted, “India, Australia, England and South Africa. Because all these teams have been doing really well and hopefully these four can qualify for the semis so we can have very good cricket over there.”

There will also be some added pressure on India, who have narrowly missed out on clinching ICC titles in crucial moments, such as the finals of the 2017 World Cup and the 2020 T20 World Cup.

#WWC17 Final: England v India match highlights

However, Harmanpreet expressed confidence in India turning over a new leaf going forward and wanted her side to come out on top in close encounters.

“I think in all the ICC events we have done well. The only thing is that we have lost a lot of close games. And this time hopefully all those close games if we can win and do well for the team.”

NewsICC Women's T20 World Cup, 2024Harmanpreet Kaur 03/08/1989IndiaWomen's News