New Delhi, Apr 2 (IANS): Ahead of the inaugural edition of the Women's Premier League (WPL), India and Mumbai Indians captain Harmanpreet Kaur had been very eloquent about her relation with Mumbai.
"I have a special relationship with this city. My first ever job was in Mumbai and I scored my first century in Mumbai. Similarly, I want to win the first WPL title with them," she had said in a pre-season press conference.
Mumbai was the city where Harmanpreet had announced herself on the ODI stage when she made an unbeaten 107 off 109 balls in 2013 Women's Cricket World Cup match against England at the Brabourne Stadium, though India fell 32 runs short.
Exactly 10 years later, at the same venue, on March 26, Harmanpreet had a wide smile on her face and pride in as she settled in the post-final press conference with a glittering WPL trophy.
After suffering heartbreaks in the 2017 ODI World Cup final, the 2020 T20 World Cup final, the 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medal game, Harmanpreet finally had her hands on the trophy which eluded her for so long.
"It feels like a dream... Today I know what it feels like to win (a trophy)," she said at the start. It was indeed a new experience for Harmanpreet, addressing the press not as the second-best captain, but as the winning captain with a big trophy.
When Harmanpreet lifted the WPL trophy, fireworks and confetti celebrations began. She did a fist pump before quickly handing the trophy over to youngsters of the Mumbai team and re-joined the team celebrations with a champions placard from the side.
This was Harmanpreet in a nutshell during the WPL as a leader - leading from the front while ensuring everyone behind her put out their best on the field during the competition. Harmanpreet had been India's T20I captain after the side failed to reach knockouts of the Women's T20 World Cup competition at home in 2016.
She took India to the Women's Asia Cup final in 2018, only to be second best. The same script repeated in T20 World Cup 2020, Commonwealth Games 2022 and in February 2023 too, when her run-out in the T20 World Cup semi-final against Australia took India away from a shot in the final.
But the WPL, along with new team-mates and new coaching staff meant Harmanpreet was able to get some time in hand to see who could be the critical elements of winning the WPL trophy. Harmanpreet led Mumbai to five victories, before two unbelievable batting collapses meant the direct spot for the final was gone and they had to upstage UP Warriorz in the eliminator to have an aim at the trophy, which they did in style.
"I was quite positive the moment we reached Mumbai. Everybody was only talking about what we must do and how to do it. The whole squad was very positive. We were only talking about winning the moments. We were not thinking about winning the trophy but winning the moments," she added.
With Mumbai Indians etched in the history as inaugural winners of the WPL, expect Harmanpreet to plan for the next big prize in women's cricket, albeit in a different shade of blue and mark the start of a trophy-laded future for India.