Stage set for big guns to fire
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Thirush Kamini lost her mother when she was 18. She wasn't even around to bid her adieu. The left-handed opener from Chennai was instead away in Anantpur playing a cricket match. The daughter of a former local hockey player, Kamini's earnings from her beloved sport are mainly spent on running her house.
Around the same time, Harmanpreet Kaur was fighting discrimination and subjugation in her village-an obscure hamlet called Dara Pur in Punjab's Moga district. Despite opposition at home, the combative right-hander had braved to dream big by deciding to stick to her passion for cricket. And thanks to the support of her parents, Kaur's persistence paid off when he was picked for the Indian women's national team three years ago by which time Kamini had already made a name for herself as a prodigious talent. Going into the ongoing Women's World Cup, the 23-year-old Punjabi's credentials have risen to such an extent that she's now rated amongst the finest batters in world cricket.
The success of Kamini and Kaur, who became the first two centurions for their country in a World Cup encounter, has been the highlight of India's campaign in the tournament so far.
If the hosts' campaign in the tournament so far has been shepherded mainly by two young players, each with an underdog tale to share, their opponents on Tuesday as a whole represent the triumph of human spirit. The fact that Sri Lanka have even made it this far is an ode to the incessant sacrifices they've made.
Till a few years ago in fact, Sri Lankan women cricketers weren't even guaranteed jobs with five of them including their present skipper Shashikala Siriwardene were sacked by their employers for playing cricket. But they stuck to their guns and were eventually rewarded for their dedication when the country's Armed Forces chipped in with support by providing jobs to over 70 per cent of the present group. There are some like Yashoda Mendis, who have overcome even the disasters of the tsunami to make it to the Sri Lankan team. And like the lanky opener showed against England, she can provide a solid platform even against the toughest of bowling attacks.
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