A heavy downpour reduced the semi-final to a 42-over contest, but such was Harmanpreet Kaur‘s relentless assault that she had enough time to reel off 171 not out off 115 balls – the third-highest score in the World Cup and fifth-highest overall. She biffed 20 fours and seven sixes – injured wrist and all – which KO’d defending champions Australia, and vaulted India into the final for the first time since 2005.
Arriving at the crease with her team wobbling at 35 for 2 in 9.2 overs, Kaur sensibly saw off the new ball under overcast conditions before unleashing her wrath. She reached her first fifty off 64 balls, her second came off another 26, and her third off a barely believable 17. The acceleration could not have been starker.
It wasn’t only Australia who felt the wrath of Kaur. After working leg spinner Kristen Beams to deep midwicket at the end of the 35th over, Kaur immediately called for two, but Deepti Sharma stopped in the middle, which resulted in a mix-up. Both batsmen ultimately dived desperately, beat a relay throw, and completed the double, which gave Kaur her third ODI hundred. An infuriated Kaur did not celebrate, however. Instead, she flung her helmet onto the turf and fired verbal volleys at her partner even as the third umpire was called to check on the run-out chance.
After the green light came on, Kaur’s first order of business was making up with poor Deepti. The second was firing boundaries in the arc between deep square leg and long-on. India sailed to 281 for 4, but that total appeared smaller when Elyse Villani, making excellent use of her crease, found the boundary with Kaur-esque regularity in the chase. Villani could not do it long enough and her dismissal for a career-best 75 set in motion a collapse: Australia lost 6 for 43. Alex Blackwell‘s late blitz – 90 off 56 balls – threatened a jailbreak, but Deepti knocked over her leg stump to lock India for a date with England at Lord’s.
Summarized scores: India women 281 for 4 (Kaur 171*, Raj 36) beat Australia women (Blackwell 90, Villani 75, Deepti 3-59) by 36 runs