Harmanpreet Kaur’s blitz helps India topple reigning champions Australia at Derby

The second semifinal of ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017 saw Champions Australia take on India played at Derby. The rain played a role at the start of the game as umpires reduced to 42-overs apiece. India made first use of the wicket as Openers Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut departed in the first ten overs.

Harmanpreet Kaur promoted to no.4 in the batting lineup started her inning with positive intent as he struck splendid boundary. She added 66 runs with Indian Captain Mithali Raj to see the scoreboard ticking along nicely after the loss of early wickets. Mithali scored 35 runs off 69 runs as she was dismissed by Kirsten Beams in the 24th over. Kaur brought up his 50 off 64 balls and then put the accelerator down as she went on the rampage against the spinners.

Ashleigh Gardner and Kirsten Beams had not much answers to the onslaught produced by Harmanpreet who dealt in fours and sixes. From 28th overs onwards, it was just all about Harmanpreet who smashed towering sixes at will. Meg Lanning tried her best with bowling changes, but Kaur had the answer to everything.

Gardner was taken apart in the 40th over as Kaur scored 23 runs off her over to see India closing on a competitive total. Deepti Sharma and Veda Krishnamurthy played well to provide support to Harmanpreet at the other end.Harmanpreet Kaur scored an unbeaten 171* runs off just 115 balls to see India amass 281 runs off 42 overs. She smashed 20 fours and 7 sixes in her innings.

Australia started in the worst possible fashion as Beth Mooney was cleaned up by a swinging delivery bowled by Shikha Pandey. Veteran seamer Jhulan Goswami also was it at her best as she produced a snorter of a delivery to dismiss Australian Captain Meg Lanning to see Australia slump to 2 for 9 after 5 overs. Nicole Bolton also played a scratchy innings as she was dismissed by Deepti Sharma to see Australia reduced for 21 for 3 after 8 overs.

Ellyse Villani and Ellyse Perry played well as they stabilized the Australia innings and put them right in the hunt. Villani was the aggressor in the innings while Perry rotated the strike beautifully. Villani took on the spinners as Poonam Yadav and Rajeshwari Gayakwad conceded a lot of runs to see Australia’s asking run-rate see a dip.

Villani scored 75 runs off 58 balls and struck thirteen boundaries in her innings. She was dismissed by Gayakwad to see Australia lose their fourth wicket in 23rd over. Perry played well as she scored 38 runs off 56 balls. Shikha Pandey was brought into the attack by Captain Mithali Raj as she delivered the crucial breakthrough of Perry to see Australia lose half their side with 140 runs on the board. The dismissals of Perry and Villani triggered a collapse as Australia lost another three wickets to see India close in on an historic win.

But Alex Blackwell fought well as she scored 90 runs off 56 balls to keep Australia well in the chase. She took the game right down to wire but it appeared to be a bridge too far as she was clean bowled by Deepti Sharma to see India win the game by 36 runs.

Harmanpreet Kaur was adjudged man of the match for her spectacular knock of 171 runs as India will now face England in the finals at Lords.

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