Friday, July 21, 2017

What Impressed Me About Harmanpreet Kaur's Knock

Big match, big hearts. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. After a bad loss to Australia in the league stage, India needed a big performance to win in the semi final.

The body language of the Aussies was assured when the match began. They somehow believed they would win it seemed. The Indian girls were on the back foot, finding their way for most of the inning until Harmanpreet Kaur decided she was seeing the ball well enough and started hitting it really hard and high.

Deepti Sharma sensibly gave the strike to Harmanpreet and she obliged with a four or two, a six or two. Ok, this cannot last long is what one would think. At some point the Aussies thought that too. But when that did not happen, one could sense them panicking, lacking a plan B. It was clearly evident when they brought in a part time bowler like Villani to bowl in the power play. Harmanpreet had completely demoralised the Aussie mindset by now. That was her first big achievement. What looked like 200 became 281.

The most impressive part was that she knew she had to drive the nail in and deep. She did not give away her wicket after 100. as 99 out of 100 players would have done  (As Villani did on 75 for Australia when she was toying with the bowling.) Harmanpreet went on and on despite the pain and fatigue, not losing an ounce of momentum, hitting proper cricketing shots with minimum risk, until the very last ball. And if we thought 281 was a safe target, think again. Despite a bad start and losing 3 top wickets, Australia came within 30 odd runs of the Indian total.

What was the final difference was the effort Harmanpreet put in after her 100. Every run after that was gold and took it further and further away from the Aussies. The willingness to go on and on, to not be content, to give up hoping that this was good enough was what showed up clearly. Good enough is clearly not good enough for her. She returned only after she got the best score possible and that to me was the most impressive part of her innings. Not a false shot, no silly indulgences after 100, 125 or 150, she was relentless. Now that is something to learn from her. In fact there is something neat and clean about the women's game. They play correct shots and it is pleasing to watch.

As for her hitting the ball, she hits it so powerfully and cleanly. Fabulous to watch. Deepti Sharma and Veda Krishnamoorthy supported her well. It looks like a comfortable and compact unit like Mithali said in her post match interview. Looking forward to the final on Sunday. With three or four players getting important hundreds and bowlers hitting wickets in the tournament already for India, England have a handful to deal with. They will have to come up with something special to stop this train.

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