Superhero Kaur eases India into Women’s World Cup final

Sensational Harmanpreet Kaur’s carnage washed Australia out of the game before Jhulan Goswami and company set up the summit clash with England at Lords

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Vikrant Jha

The rain threatened to take the match on to the reserve day, but when the rain faded, Harmanpreet Kaur’s carnage washed Australia out of the semi-final of Women’s World Cup 2017. The six-time champions proved no match for Kaur’s power and in her frenzied stay in the middle, Kaur amassesed an individual total of 171 runs off just 115 balls to help India defeat Australia by 36-runs.

Mithali Raj opted to put runs on the scoreboard after winning the toss, Australia got best of the starts dismissing young sensation Smriti Mandhana in the very first over. Punam Raut, Mandhana’s opening partner, held on for some time before she was dismissed on 14. Vice-Captain Harmanpreet Kaur joined Captain Mithali Raj in the middle and the two started rebuilding the Indian inning.

Raj played a composed inning (36 off 61) before she was clean-bowled by Kirsten Beams. Deepti Sharma replaced the Captain in the middle and soon after Harmanpreet started accelerating at full pace.

After reaching her 51 off 64 balls, Harmanpreet took just 26 more deliveries to complete her century of just 90 balls. Off the next 25 balls that the Indian Vice-Captain faced, she added 71 runs to her tally and helped India finish at a mammoth 281-4 in allowed 42 overs (overs reduced due to rain). In a completely one-woman-show, Harmanpreet Kaur dismantled the Australian attack with sheer finesse to stay unbeaten on 171 runs off only 115 balls, which included 20 fours and seven sixes. The next highest scores for India in the match was 36 runs off 61 balls by Captain Raj and 25 off 35 by youngster Deepti Sharma.

The onus shifted on to the bowlers to take India home and experienced Jhulan Goswami took the charge in her own hands. A beautiful first over by Goswami was backed up by some brilliant bowling from Shikha Pandey who provided India with its first breakthrough in the second over itself. Goswami arguably bowled the ball of the tournament to dismantle Australian Captain, and the number one ranked batswoman in the world, Meg Lanning’s off stump.

Elyse Villani (75 off 58) and Alex Blackwell (90 off 56) threatened to create a chance for Australia with their blistering counter-attack but some disciplined bowling kept the Australians at bay with regular wickets. Blackwell, with her blistering knock, took the match to the 41st over but India emerged victorious by 36-runs with 11 balls still to be bowled.

India’s day at work on Thursday can be put simply in Ian Bishop’s words, “I’ve seen the best inning in a World Cup match (Harmanpreet’s inning) and two of the best bowls bowled so far in the tournament (Shikha Pandey’s ball to dismiss Beth Mooney and Goswami’s screamer to dismiss Lanning), I need to go lie down now.”

Mithali raj and company will now face hosts England at ‘Mecca of Cricket’, Lords on Sunday in search of their first ever ICC Women’s World Cup final.

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Published: 21 Jul 2017, 11:02 AM