Harmanpreet Kaur: The flag-bearer for Indian Women’s T20 Cricket

An aggressive captain, a power hitter, and a disciplined bowler, Harmanpreet Kaur has risen through the ranks and is the reason behind the success of the Women in Blue’s T20 outfit in recent years. In fact, considering her hitting prowess and discipline in bowling, one may be tempted to compare her with one of the men’s teams most prolific all-rounders, Yuvraj Singh. Her ability to hold the middle order hit the ball out of the park and play the role of a finisher is very similar to Yuvraj Singh.

Harmanpreet Kaur
Harmanpreet Kaur. Pic Credits: Getty Images

Debut in 2009 – The Beginning

Born in Moga, Punjab, Harmanpreet Kaur is currently the face of women’s T20 cricket in India. She made her T20 debut in 2009 and is now the most capped player in Indian T20 cricket. In fact, after the recent T20I series against South Africa, she is the now first Indian cricketer – male or female – to have played 100 T20 internationals representing her country. Harmanpreet Kaur made her T20 debut in 2009 against England in 2009 ICC Women’s World T20 in Taunton, England at the age of just 20 years. She had a very humble beginning scoring just 8 runs off 7 balls in a losing cause.

Cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur with her parents and brother in Moga, Punjab, Sunday. (Source: Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)
Cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur with her parents and brother in Moga, Punjab, Sunday. (Source: Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)

Harmanpreet Kaur in 2010

Later, in 2010, in the T20I series against England at home, she played her first important innings for India making 33 runs off 29 balls to take India to 126/7 in their 20 overs, which they successfully managed to defend and level the series 1-1. She also scored 30 off 25 balls in the next match, which India lost.

Harmanpreet Kaur in 2012 

In 2012, she made her first half-century in T20I cricket during the opening T20I match against Australia in Vishakhapatnam. She smashed 57 runs in 48 balls hitting five boundaries and two sixes but could not win the game for India. She also got a taste of captaincy as she captained the Indian team during the finals of the Asia Cup held at Guangzhou against Pakistan with both Mithali Raj (captain) and Jhulan Goswami (vice-captain) out with injuries. Although India was bundled out for just 81 runs, she brought the title to India as the bowlers restricted Pakistan to just 63 runs.

Harmanpreet Kaur Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
Harmanpreet Kaur Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

Harmanpreet Kaur in ICC Women’s World Cup 2013

Harmanpreet Kaur truly rose to fame during the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013 held in India. During the match against England, she scored 107 off 109 balls to bring India close to an important win in their campaign. Although India lost the match by 32 runs, the innings showed her ability to build long innings and strike the ball well.

Then in 2014, India won the World T20 fixture against Bangladesh comprehensively with Harmanpreet making her second half-century of her T20I career. She scored 77 runs off only 59 balls studded with 12 boundaries and a six as India raced to 151/5 in their 20 overs. Bangladesh could manage only 72 runs in their 20 overs as India won the match comprehensively by 79 runs.

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In 2016, India began its tour to Australia conceding 140/5 in the first match of the series. After Mithali Raj got out cheaply, Harmanpreet Kaur anchored the chase scoring 41 runs off 36 balls as the hauled the target with five wickets and 10 balls to spare. She scored one six and six boundaries in 16 balls before being dismissed. This became the highest successful chase by an Indian Women’s team in T20Is at that time.

Harmanpreet Kaur in ICC Women’s World T20 2016

During the opening match of the ICC Women’s World T20 that year in India played against Bangladesh, Harmanpreet clobbered 40 runs off only 29 balls, hitting 3 fours and 2 sixes. She scored 89 runs in the four matches and also picked up seven wickets during the tournament.

Harmanpreet Kaur replaced Mithali Raj as the captain of the T20 side when West Indies toured India later that year. She scored two half-centuries in the three T20I matches. She scored 68 runs off 50 balls in the first T20I and 60 runs of 51 balls in the third and remained unbeaten on both occasions. She ended up being the second-highest run-scorer of the series behind West Indian Stafanie Taylor with a total of 171 runs from 3 matches to her name.

Datsun India gifts a Redi-Go to Indian Cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur (Pic Via Datsun)
Datsun India gifts a Redi-Go to Indian Cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur (Pic Via Datsun)

Harmanpreet Kaur in ICC Women’s World Cup 2017

The following year was a watershed year for the Indian women’s cricket in which India outplayed top teams before losing to England in what was a keenly-contested final. En-route to the final, Harmanpreet Kaur justified her tag ‘Harmonster by smashing a record-breaking 171 not out in 115 balls hitting as many as 20 fours and 7 sixes in the semis against Australia. With that knock, India managed to defeat the favorites and knock them out of the competition. It was after this performance that she became the most prized wicket for any side facing India.

 Harmanpreet's century was embellished with 20 fours and as many as seven sixes.
Harmanpreet’s century was embellished with 20 fours and as many as seven sixes.

Harmanpreet Kaur in ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2018

Harmanpreet Kaur added two more half-centuries to her career in 2018, one against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup final and one against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. During that year, she led the side for the first time in the Women’s World T20 in the West Indies. India performed exceptionally well in the tournament under her leadership and went on to the knockouts unbeaten defeating the likes of New Zealand, Australia and arch-rivals Pakistan comprehensively. In the opening fixture against New Zealand, she became the first Indian woman and the third overall to score a century in the World T20s by making 103 runs in only 51 balls seven fours and eight sixes as she powered India to 194/5 in their 20 overs, the highest score by any team in Women’s World T20. Her century off only 51 balls was also the fourth-fastest century in T20Is. She was the leading run-scorer for India in the tournament, with 183 runs in five matches.

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Harmanpreet Kaur scored a 49-ball hundred to help India post the highest ever total in the Women's WT20 (@WorldT20 Photo)
Harmanpreet Kaur scored a hundred to help India post the highest ever total in the Women’s WT20 (@WorldT20 Photo)

Harmanpreet Kaur – Records Made and Broken

Harmanpreet Kaur is now the seventh woman to represent her country in 100 or more T20Is. She is the first Indian to achieve this feat. In terms of her batting, she is currently India’s second-highest run-scorer in T20Is, trailing Mithali Raj, with 2004 runs at an average of just under 30 and a strike rate of over a-run-a-ball. She is currently placed eighth in the leading run-getters in T20Is. She scored 663 runs in T20Is in 2018 and is the second-highest run-getter in a single calendar year behind Suzie Bates, who scored 670 runs in the same year.

She is also a very disciplined bowler and has picked up 28 wickets in her 100 matches with the best bowling analysis of 4 wickets for 23 runs against West Indies in the 2016 edition of Women’s World T20. She has captained the Indian side on 45 occasions, winning 28 matches and losing 15.

Harmanpreet Kaur stars in KSL and WBBL

Harmanpreet Kaur has also been quite successful in franchise cricket. In June 2016, she created history by being the first Indian player, male or female, to feature in an overseas T20 franchise when she was signed for the Sydney Thunder for Women’s Big Bash League 2016-17. She has scored 713 runs so far from 35 matches at an average of 35 and a strike rate of 116. She has 3 half-centuries to her name. She has also represented Lancashire Thunder in the Kia Super League in 2018 and 2019.

Harmanpreet Kaur in Lancashire Thunder
Harmanpreet Kaur in Lancashire Thunder

Harmanpreet Kaur has been one of Indian cricket’s finest players and has made India proud on many occasions. With a wonderful record to her name and a few national awards such as Arjuna Awards in 2017 and the Padmashri in 2019, she is already leaving behind a legacy of her own. She may have represented India in only 100 T20Is but we are sure to see her in many more matches to come.

Team Female Cricket salutes our national hero on completing a century of T20I appearances and wishes her the very best for her career.

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