India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur on Thursday said the 36 runs she scored against Thailand in the women's Asia Cup semifinal was a much-needed confidence booster for her after returning to the side following a brief injury lay-off.
Harmanpreet, who is enjoying a purple patch, missed India's last two league games due to a niggle, but returned to lead the side on Thursday and scored a fine 30-ball 36 with the help of four boundaries to help India post a challenging 148 for 6.
"That partnership (between her and Jemimah Rodrigues) helped us to get a score on the board. When you're not playing a lot, you need runs to get confidence," the India captain said after a comfortable 74-run win over Thailand in the semifinal.
"I'm more confident about my game now, but will keep working. I'm always happy to contribute to the team."
The win over Thailand took India to their eighth straight Asia Cup final -- four each in ODI and T20 formats. Before 2012, the tournament was a 50-over-a-side affair.
"We batted really well, Thailand bowled quite well, not giving us easy runs. We really had to work hard. When you're getting around 150 on the board more often than not, it gives confidence."
Defending the total, Deepti (3/7) did most of the damage to help India restrict Thailand to 74 for 9.
And, Harmanpreet was effusive in her praise for the off-spin all-rounder.
"She (Deepti) is someone who is willing to bowl at any stage. Having such a bowler always gives confidence," she said.
India will take on the winner of the other semifinal between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Saturday's final.
"We are ready for the final. Whoever comes, we just need to watch and plan accordingly," Harmanpreet said.
Opener Shafali Verma was adjudged man-of-the-match for her attacking 28-ball 42 which was studded with five boundaries and one six.
"Now, I am a bit confident, I will keep working hard and I'm always happy to contribute for the team. The wicket is good to bat. Smriti (Mandhana) did well, Jemi (Jemimah Rodrigues) also did well. We have to work on partnerships," Verma said.
Thailand captain Naruemol Chaiwai they will take home only positives from the tournament.
"It's a good experience for us. We have a talented side, and we'll go upwards as we play more. We have to show more intent and enjoy ourselves a bit more. If we can do that, we'll be happy," she said.