India cricket team captain Harmanpreet Kaur is highly regarded as one of the most destructive batters in the history of women’s cricket. She possesses the quality of demoralising any bowling attack in the world. Harmanpreet’s art of sending the ball into the stands makes her stand in the league of supremely qualified power-strikers of the captivating game.
Harmanpreet likes to take bowlers to the cleaners, and on July 20, exactly three years ago, she displayed the batting brilliance against the mighty Australian attack. Her explosive knock also helped India secure a place in the Women’s World Cup final in 2017.
During her 115-ball innings, Harmanpreet scored an unbeaten 171 which included 20 fours and seven gigantic sixes. In fact, Harmanpreet’s 171* still remains the sixth-highest score in women’s ODIs, after Amelia Kerr (232*), Belinda Clarke (229*), Deepti Sharma (188), Chamari Atapattu (178*) and Charlotte Edwards (173*).
The Moga-born cricketer recalled her mesmerising innings while speaking to Cricbuzz.
Harmanpreet revealed how she woke up that morning with positive vibes indicating that she could play freely.
“That day, my mindset was very different. I’ve played many internationals but that mindset I walked in with… I wish I could go that way for every game. That would be difficult. To be honest, before the match we’re always thinking about the match situation. That day I only recalled my whole cricketing journey, how I started… it was a different kind of feeling. I just wanted to play freely,” said Kaur.
Harmanpreet disclosed the interesting conversation she had with the then captain Mithali Raj. The first India cricketer – male or female – to sign a Big Bash League contract, said she made her intentions clear to Mithali stating she wants to bat freely in order to increase the run-rate.
“I was batting with Mithali, and we’d put on 50 and were only looking at the scoreboard and thinking we don’t have enough runs. That Australia team has batters till No. 9. Even No.9 can come and score a 100. I was telling her [Mithali] if we make 200-250, we can at best take the game to the last over but not win.
“I wanted to bat freely. She just smiled at me and said ‘Look it’s risky now, it’s only the 16th over. Lots of time to go.’ [But] I told her just let me play, we’ll see. Once I got that, I didn’t look back,” the Punjab cricketer added.
Then, in the game, Harmanpreet switched gears and went on a roller coaster. She slammed her first fifty in 64 deliveries, but the next came off just 26. And from 100 to 171, she took only 25 more balls as India posted a humongous 281 on the board. In response, Australia fell short by 36 runs and tumbled out of the tournament.
Harmanpreet revealed that she had no time to respond or even see the congratulatory messages as the final game was scheduled to be played just two days later.
“To be honest, once the match was over… we went to London, we had just one day gap to the final. I was getting calls and WhatsApp messages. I usually avoid WhatsApp during a tournament. Only speak to the family that’s it. So I didn’t see those messages and calls. I don’t have Facebook or Instagram either. I think I waste too much energy. I don’t want them on my phone.
“So I didn’t see any of those messages. Even with the team, we were talking about the final only. I spoke to mom and dad for 2-3 minutes. They didn’t say much. When we came back to India, we were depressed about losing a final we should have won. When I got home… only then I opened my messages. It was then that I started feeling that I did something. For 15-16 days, the messages were unrelenting,” concluded Harmanpreet.