A lot have been written and said about former India captain and iconic all-rounder Kapil Dev’s maverick knock of 175 off just 138 during a league game of the 1983 Prudential World Cup. Coming in to bat at 17 for five, Kapil Dev played an incredible knock what is regarded as one of the best knocks in a World Cup. Unfortunately, that knock was not televised and there is no video footage of that fantastic innings.
According to Times of India report, However, on Thursday night, Indian women cricket team vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur with a whirlwind knock off 171 off 115 balls that included 20 fours and seven sixes not only reminded cricket fans about that Kapil knock, but manage to produced one of the greatest ever ODI knocks in women’s cricket helping India storm into the ICC World Cup final, beating a strong Australian side by 36 runs in the semi-final.
While Harmanpreet brought ‘Kurnage” on to the Aussies bowlers, twitter went on to overdrive in praise of the girl from Moga district in Punjab.
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, head coach Ravi Shastri, Indian cricket team skipper superstar Virat Kohil took to Twitter to shower their accolades.
— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 20, 2017
— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) July 21, 2017
— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) July 20, 2017
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) July 20, 2017
— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) July 20, 2017
— Kapil Dev (@therealkapildev) July 20, 2017
What worked to Harmanpreet’s advantage was her experience of playing the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) for Sydney Thunders due to which her familiarity with the current Aussie attack was much more than any other player.
After a useful 60 against New Zealand in the virtual quarter-final, Harmanpreet upped the ante like never before.
She batted like as if there was no tomorrow as she repeatedly hit the troika of left-arm spinner Jess Jonasen (0/63 in 7 overs), off-break bowler Ashleigh Gardner (1/43 in 8 overs) and leg-spinner Kirsten Beans (1/49 in 8 overs) with utter disdain.
The performance came as no surprise to former players who believe Indian women’s team is destined for the big time. “Hats off to Harmanpreet. It’s a great victory for the India women’s cricket team and for women’s cricket in India,” former team captain Diana Eduljee told NDTV.
“I thank the girls for the opportunity they have given to all women cricketers and the future of women’s cricket is now here to stay in India. I am sure this victory is going to be historic as we have already beaten New Zealand, Australia and England. I’d think the World Cup is already in India irrespective of whatever happens on Sunday,” added Eduljee.
Kapil Dev, who won the World Cup with the men’s team, said he was “filled with pride” after seeing the women in action against the Aussies.
Kaur, who last year became the first Indian woman to play in the women’s Big Bash League in Australia, grabbed the limelight with a 115-ball innings laced with 20 fours and 7 sixes.
ESPNcricinfo senior editor Sharda Ugra termed the win as a “turning point” in Indian women’s cricket, but said the team and Kaur’s performance did not come as a surprise.
“We knew that there is a new generation of young players who play it like a modern game,” he told AFP.
“They are physical, they field well, are aggressive. They are like 21st century kind of women. I think it was this particular innings and this particular game that will prove to be the turning point of Indian women’s cricket.”
Indian women’s were always a force to reckon in the 11th edition of the women’s World Cup with Raj leading from the front as the tournament’s second highest run-getter.
— mandira bedi (@mandybedi) July 21, 2017
Raj, 34, became the first batswoman to score 6,000 runs in one-day internationals in the league game against Australia, surpassing the record previously held by England’s Charlotte Edwards (5992).
“She has been a very big influence in the sense of her presence and the fact she is such a big figure in the women’s game,” Ugra said of Raj, who averages over 50 in 185 ODIs and 10 Tests.
“She has sort of set a standard in excellence that everyone should aspire for.”