Harmanpreet Kaur’s Record 171* Takes India to The Women’s World Cup Final

India took on Australia in the second semi final of the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup, after England already won the first semi final and booked their spot in the final. It was a ‘David vs Goliath‘ clash but an Indian victory was not impossible.

They met once before in this tournament, where the Australian women completed an easy 8-wicket win. Here, the game was delayed due to rain and when the skies were completely clear, India won the toss and elected to bat first in what was going to be a 42-over contest.

A lot of support came in for India but it was going to be a stiff task for the Women in Blue!

Apart from the first two games of this tournament, Smriti Mandhanaย has failed to fire and she had another failure, falling for 6 and Punam Raut followed her soon, leaving India in trouble early on – 35/2.

From there, they got exactly what was needed (a partnership) as Mithali Raj & Harmanpreet Kaur put up 66 for the 3rd wicket. However, the scoring rate was extremely slow and Mithali’s wicket proved to be a blessing in disguise, giving Harmanpreet and Deepti Sharma the chance to fire on all cylinders.

Harmanpreet took the Indian innings from a run rate of around 3.5 to 4, to 4.5, to 5 and it only kept going up. She brought up her century as well – second in World Cup cricket and third overall.

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Harmanpreet flew her way past many records as she brought up the highest score by an Indian woman in ODIs and it only took her 17 balls to go from 100 to 150. No celebrations when she got to 100, but she did acknowledge the crowd when she reached her next milestone.

From a point where a 170-180 team total didn’t seem possible, she took India to a score of 281/4, scoring 139 runs in the last 10 overs. Her 171* was the 2nd highest individual score in women’s world cup history and 5th highest ever in women’s ODI cricket history. Man, this girl made India proud on a big day!

After that fantastic innings, India were definitely favourites at the half-time break and were in with a fighting chance. The Indian quicks took the momentum from that Harmanpreet carnage into the second half and they picked early wickets – Shikha Pandey bowled a beauty to take the first wicket and then Jhulan Goswami bettered that delivery, getting Meg Lanning for a duck. Did we witness the ball of the tournament by Jhulan?

From 21/3, Ellyse Perry and in particular Elyse Villani threatened to take the game away from India, with their rapid 105 runs partnership. In a quickfire innings of 75 in just 58 balls, Villani scored 13 boundaries and the Indian shoulders were beginning to droop, until Rajeshwari Gayakwad dismissed her, bringing India back into the game.

India would’ve been happy as they initially dropped Villani when she was batting on just 10.

Shikha Pandey then came in and struck with the first delivery of her third spell, getting Perry for 38 and this was the beginning of the end of the campaign for the defending champions. Wickets fell like nine pins after this but Alex Blackwell was carrying on a one-man show at the crease.

Blackwell tried her level best, scoring 90 in just 60 balls and making the Indian fielders run all around the ground. However, the 10th wicket partnership of 76 runs was finally broken, as India won by 36 runs and booked a spot in what will be only their second ever World Cup final.

Thank you, Harmanpreet Kaur. The whole of India must get behind these girls as we now take on England in the final of the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup!

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Player of the Match: Harmanpreet Kaur for her 171*(115) – 20 fours and 7 sixes.

About Dwayne Fernandes 1076 Articles
Indian. 23. Management Graduate. Huge cricket fan. Twitter and Instagram - @dwayneeeboy