Harmanpreet Kaur ought to replicate her WBBL heroics to help India script history

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15 Jan 2022 | 08:12 AM
authorShweta Haranhalli

Harmanpreet Kaur ought to replicate her WBBL heroics to help India script history

The vice-captain of the side has endured a challenging phase in the fifty-over format but showcased glimpses of great things to follow in the WBBL

20th July 2017, a day etched in the memory of every cricket fan as Harmanpreet Kaur shattered numerous records en route her record-breaking knock of an unbeaten 171 against Australia to carve her name in the history books. 

The County Ground in Derby witnessed one of the most scintillating knocks in world cricket as Harmanpreet ensured the cricket frenzy fans of the game stood and applauded the valiant effort of this young girl from Moga, battling injuries and a string of low scores to help inch storm in their second final of the mega event.

Such was the impact of her innings that the former coach of the Indian men's side Ravi Shastri compared it to the 175* knock played by legendary Kapil Dev in the 1983 World Cup. 

Days after her heroics in the semi-finals against the defending champions, Australia, the right-handed batter smashed 51 runs in the summit clash of the World Cup at the Home of Cricket. 

While her sublime performance in the iconic tournament made plenty of noises for all the right reasons, Harmanpreet failed to replicate the same in the coming years at the international arena.

In the 23 innings played thus far after the 2017 World Cup, Harmanpreet has amassed 543 runs at an average of 28.57. However, one of the glaring issues for her and the team management of the Indian side has been the lack of consistency showcased by their premier batter. 

The 32-year old has managed to score only two half-centuries after her performance in the finals of the coveted trophy, adding an enormous amount of pressure on skipper Mithali Raj.

Another significant cause of concern from the team management would be the lack of impetus provided by her in the middle overs of the innings. Despite being known for her attacking style of play and her ability to clear the boundary ropes with ease, Harmanpreet has struggled to get going in the middle-order. 

In 23 innings since 2018, Harmanpreet has scored 543 runs at a strike rate of 68.3, which is the second-worst among batters at number four or five with a minimum of 500 runs. 

While her form in the recent past has been indifferent, the Indian team can take solace from the fact that she consistently notched up scores in the home series against South Africa. 

After a year-long hiatus away from the game due to the pandemic, the Women in Blue suffered a 4-1 drubbing against the Proteas. Despite the result, Harmanpreet was a vital cog in the middle order of the side and scored 160 runs in four innings at an average of 53.33. 

While she had a quiet series against England away from home and missed the majority of the series against Australia due to a finger injury, Harmanpreet showcased her class in the Women's Big Bash League that followed. 

Plying her trade for the Melbourne Renegades in this edition of the competition, Harmanpreet was named the player of the tournament, making her the first Indian player to achieve this feat. 

She took the world of cricket by storm with her all-around performance for the Renegades and scored 399 runs in 11 innings at a strike rate of 135.25.

However, one of the records that can ease a bit of tension of the Indian fans is the fact that she smashed 18 hits over the fence, the most by a player in the said edition of the extravaganza. 

In addition to her batting prowess, Harmanpreet scalped 15 wickets at an average of 20.4 and an economy rate of 7.5 runs per over. 

While most people may argue stating her performances in the shortest format cannot attribute to her success in the fifty-over form of the game, the truth is that the Indian team has not played a competitive match after their spirited performance against the Aussies in September. 

Well, as shocking as it may seem, the team will have a gap of five months before they embark on their journey to the Southern hemisphere for a series against New Zealand and the World Cup. 

The last competitive tournament played by Harmanpreet has been the WBBL, and although the format is different, her scintillating form augurs well for the side in the upcoming World Cup. 

If India aim to win the elusive title and create a revolution back home, the team will rely on their vice-captain to shoulder the responsibility of the side in the middle-overs and recreate the heroics showcased by her in the last mega event. 

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ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, 2022India Women tour of New Zealand, 2022India WomenMelbourne Renegades WomenHarmanpreet Kaur

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