Harmanpreet India to dethrone Australia in ICC Women’s World Cup

All-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur’s belligerent, unbeaten century helped India post a massive 281 for four against defending champion Australia in the second semifinal of the Women’s World Cup at the County Ground here on 20 July 2017. Kaur’s 171 (115b, 20×4, 7×6) was her third ODI century, the first outside India and her highest-ever score. The match was reduced to 42 overs per side contest as wet weather and a sodden outfield delayed the scheduled start by more than two hours.

India, having won all four group stage matches it contested here, decided to take first strike. However it experienced a disappointing opening over when Smriti Mandhana departed, lobbing Megan Schutt to Elyse Villani. Captain Mithali Raj led the rebuilding but her uncharacteristically powerful start was soon curtailed with the dismissal of Punam Raut, caught on the boundary by Beth Mooney off Ashleigh Gardner.

The arrival of Harmanpreet saw steady progress, before the all-rounder took on the role of aggressor. Mithali, content on taking a back seat, drove Schutt for a single to move to the top of the tournament’s run-scorer’s chart. However, she was out two overs later. Dropped off Kristen Beams miscuing a pull shot, Mithali was bowled the very next ball by the leg-spinner for 36. Harmanpreet continued to attack with a merciless display of hitting, requiring just 26 balls to move from her half-century to triple figures, when she was almost run out while scampering for a two to reach the landmark.

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