On July 20, 2017, Harmanpreet Kaur did something truly special. She didn’t just deliver one of the finest knocks ever in the women’s game, she played arguably the greatest innings by an Indian in white-ball cricket. Period.
The right-hander ended up scoring an unbeaten 171 runs off just 115 balls in the semi-final of the ODI World Cup against defending champions Australia. Yes, you read that right – the stakes were that high and Harmanpreet delivered a performance which was that sensational.
India batted first in that match at the County Ground in Derby, and the contest was reduced to 42 overs-a-side due to rain. Skipper Mithali Raj was at the crease as openers Smriti Mandhana and and Punam Raut departed with the team’s total being 35 in 9.2 overs. And that’s when Harmanpreet walked in.
The then 28-year-old didn’t go berserk from the get-go. She got into her groove with two classy drives off the front foot for four – one through cover and the other straight back past the bowler – before making her way to 78 runs off 81 balls. But from that moment onward, the Aussies were dealt a severe beating.
Harmanpreet ended up scoring the next 93 runs in just 34 balls at 16.41 runs per over. She hit a staggering 20 fours and seven sixes. And they weren’t ordinary sixes, the ball sailed way over the boundary rope each time.
“I was enjoying it. I like taking singles and doubles, but boundaries give me confidence. So when I got the fours and sixes, it was building my confidence and I was feeling good,” Harmanpreet said soon after the match.
India finished with 281/4 and bowled out Australia for 245 to win by 36 runs. They may have gone on to suffer a heartbreaking defeat in the final to hosts England, but Harmanpreet’s performance that day in Derby had given Indian fans something incredible to cherish forever.
Watch that unbelievable knock by Harmanpreet Kaur here: