She struck a sensational 171* in a destructive knockout to Australia. The Indian Women Cricket team’s smashing victory in the semi-finals by 36 runs to earn its rightful place in the ICC Women’s World Cup final on Thursday, lay on the shoulder of this batswoman.
Harmanpreet Kaur smashed over 20 fours and seven sixes to 115 deliveries to speed up the team’s slow start and amass 281/4 in 42 overs, after the match held in Derby was reduced following heavy rain in the morning.
Harmanpreet’s knock of 171* will go down in history as one of the greatest ever by an Indian in a knockout game. Indian cricket fans bore witness to the sheer display of sportsmanship and mettle after 34 years since the 1983 World Cup when Kapil Dev played an iconic knock of 175* against Zimbabwe. The world has rarely witnessed an Indian player fight tooth and nail against the Aussie team in this manner in a World Cup knockout game.
Before history books etch Harmanpreet’s name in gold for years to come, here’s all you need to know about the Indian batswoman.
1. Born on March 8, 1989 in Moga, Punjab she is a batswoman for the Indian women’s cricket team.
2. Fondly referred to as ‘Harry,’ she was passionate about cricket from early childhood, and wanted to represent India in this sport. Kaur’s father, Harmandar Singh Bhullar, was a club cricketer himself, and her parents supported her dream.
3. She also plays volleyball and basketball. She took to cricket after joining the Gian Jyoti School Academy, 30km from her residence in Moga. She trained under Kamaldeesh Singh Sodhi, owner of Moga’s premier cricket academy, who spotted her playing gully cricket and ended up taking care of her tuition fees, commute, cricket academy fees, shoes, and cricket kit.
4. When she moved to Mumbai in 2014, she began working for the Indian Railways.
5. She made her ODI debut at 20, against the Pakistan women’s cricket team, in March 2009 in the 2009 Women’s Cricket World Cup played at Bradman Oval, Bowral. In the match, she bowled 4 overs conceding only 10 runs.
6. In June 2009, she made her Twenty20 international debut at ICC Women’s World Twenty20 against England women’s team at County Ground, Taunton and scored 8 runs off 7 balls.
7. Her agility and batsmenship to hit the ball was seen when she played quick-fire innings of 33 against England women’s in a T20I game played in Mumbai in 2010.
8. She was the Indian women’s captain for the 2012 Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup final, as captain Mithali Raj and vice-captain Jhulan Goswami were out because of injuries. She made her debut as captain against Pakistan as India defended 81 runs and won the Asia Cup.
9. In March 2013, she became the ODI captain of the team when Bangladesh women’s cricket team toured India. She scored her second ODI century and finished the series at 195 runs at an average of 97.50 with a century and a 50 along with 2 wickets.
10. In November 2015, she took 9 wickets in a Test match against the South African women’s cricket team played at Gangothri Glades Cricket Ground, Mysore, helping India win the match by an innings and 34 runs.
11. In January 2016, she was instrumental in India’s win against Australia with a score of 46 runs in 31 balls, India’s highest-ever chase in T20 internationals. In the 2016 ICC Women’s World Twenty20, she scored 89 runs and took seven wickets in four matches.
Harmanpreet became the first Indian cricketer to be signed by an overseas Twenty20 franchise in June 2016. Sydney Thunder, the Women’s Big Bash League champions, signed her for the 2016–17 season.
Her 171* is currently the second-highest score by an Indian batsman in women’s one-day internationals, behind Deepti Sharma’s 188 runs.