During the first semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20 2023, all eyes were on Harmanpreet Kaur, the talismanic batter of the Indian women’s team, as she walked out to bat against the mighty Australian side at Newlands on Thursday. Unfortunately, India’s below-par fielding and Australia’s top-order domination left them with a mountain to climb in the high-scoring semi-final in Cape Town.
Australia won the toss and chose to bat first, with opener Beth Mooney and captain Meg Lanning leading the charge to a challenging total. India struggled to keep up, with early setbacks in the form of Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana. Yastika Bhatia’s dismissal left India on the brink of a shocking batting collapse, but Harmanpreet’s marauding knock revived the Women In Blue’s hopes.
Despite being in serious trouble at 28/3, India fought back and kept the match alive, taking it to the last over. Leading from the front was Harmanpreet, who battled fever just hours before the match and scored a gritty half-century. However, her shocking dismissal paved the way for Australia’s late comeback.
In a bid to take a comfortable double, Harmanpreet played a slog-sweep towards the mid-wicket region, but her bat got stuck and her feet were in the air when wicketkeeper Healy removed the bails, resulting in her being adjudged run out in the 15th over. Her teammates were shellshocked, and despite her counter-attacking 69-run partnership with Jemimah Rodrigues, once both batters departed, it was all downhill from there.
Harmanpreet and Jemimah had struck a flurry of boundaries to bring India back and send Australia into panic mode, but Jemimah’s dismissal gave the opposition breathing space. Harmanpreet too cut loose, reaching her half-century in just 32 deliveries, but her odd run-out ended her fine knock, which was her first in five years.