Top 10 Knocks by an Indian in ICC Women’s ODI World Cup

The ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup is a pinnacle event in the cricketing calendar, where the world’s finest female players showcase their talent and determination. Over the years, Indian batters have solidified their names in World Cup folklore with innings that have become part of cricketing legend. This article dives into some of the most iconic individual batting performances by Indian players.

Top 10 Knocks by an Indian in ICC Women's ODI World Cup
Top 10 Knocks by an Indian in ICC Women’s ODI World Cup

1. Harmanpreet Kaur 171* vs Australia 2017 Semi-Final

In a tense atmosphere at the 2017 Women’s World Cup semi-final against Australia, India’s batting began shakily. Openers Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut fell cheaply, leaving them at a vulnerable 35/2 after 10 overs. The weight of expectation settled on Harmanpreet Kaur’s shoulders as she strode to the crease. She began carefully, stitching together a crucial partnership with skipper Mithali Raj to stabilize the innings. Her initial fifty came off 64 balls, a measured knock deviating from the high-pressure situation.

However, rain intervened, shortening the match to 42 overs. This triggered a switch in Kaur. Boundaries rained down – powerful drives that split the field, audacious scoops that deceived fielders, and monstrous sixes that sailed over the ropes. The Australian bowlers, familiar with her power-hitting from the Women’s Big Bash League, were left helpless. From a well-compiled hundred, Kaur went into overdrive, scoring her final 71 runs off a mere 25 deliveries. Her record-breaking 171* off just 115 balls, studded with 20 fours and 7 sixes, propelled India to an enormous 281 runs.

2. Smriti Mandhana 123 vs West Indies 2022

India, needing a strong performance after a narrow defeat, faced West Indies in the 2022 Women’s World Cup. Batting first, the pressure was on their openers. Smriti Mandhana, alongside her partner Yastika Bhatia, weathered the initial attack and built a crucial partnership. Once settled, Mandhana took charge, unleashing a variety of elegant drives, powerful pulls, and exquisite flicks. Reaching her fifty off 67 balls, she then went on to form a record-breaking 184-run stand with Harmanpreet Kaur, putting India in a commanding position.

Mandhana’s well-timed six brought up her third World Cup century, a knock of 123 runs with 13 fours and 2 sixes. Though dismissed shortly after, she had laid the foundation for India’s massive 317/8, the highest score by an Indian team in a World Cup match. This dominant total proved too much for West Indies, who were bundled out for 162.

3. Mithali Raj 109 vs New Zealand 2017

Facing a precarious situation in the 2017 World Cup match against New Zealand, India found themselves having a shaky start. The top order had crumbled, leaving the middle order with the daunting task of resurrecting the innings. Enter Mithali Raj, the Indian captain.

Raj, known for her composure and leadership, approached the crease with a clear purpose – to rebuild and anchor the innings. She began cautiously, stitching together partnerships with Harmanpreet Kaur (60) and Veda Krishnamurthy (70) to provide much-needed stability. As the innings progressed, Raj’s knock evolved. She transitioned from a watchful batter to a dominant force, peppering the boundaries with elegant drives and powerful pulls. Her unbeaten knock of 109 runs off just 123 balls, a captain’s knock in every sense, was the cornerstone of India’s commanding total of 265/7. This innings was not just about personal glory; it was a display of leadership under pressure, a quality that propelled India towards a convincing victory and a place in the semi-final.

4. Harmanpreet Kaur 109 vs West Indies 2022

India, riding high in the 2022 World Cup group stage, faced West Indies with the intent to solidify their top position. Opting to bat first, openers Mandhana and Verma provided a flying start. However, the duty fell on the middle order to capitalize.

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Harmanpreet Kaur walked in at a comfortable 81/2. She wasted no time in continuing the aggressive approach, launching into a flurry of boundaries. Her fifty came off a blazing 40 balls, showcasing her clean hitting. She found a steady partner in Vastrakar, building a crucial 84-run stand. Kaur reached her 17th ODI century with a well-timed six off 87 balls, her knock comprised 10 fours and 2 sixes. With Kaur leading the charge, India amassed a dominant 317/8, a score that proved too much for West Indies.

5. Smriti Mandhana 106* vs West Indies 2017

Chasing a modest target of 184 set by West Indies in the 2017 World Cup, India’s young opener Smriti Mandhana found herself in a crucial position after the early dismissal of her partner. The pressure was on to ensure a smooth chase.

Mandhana began cautiously, ensuring India did not lose early wickets. She played maturely, picking gaps and accumulating runs steadily. As India settled into the chase, she shifted gears, unleashing a variety of shots. The West Indian bowlers struggled to contain her, and she capitalized on any loose deliveries. This dominant display culminated in a magnificent unbeaten 106 runs off just 108 balls, including 13 fours and 2 sixes. With Mandhana as the anchor, India chased down the target comfortably, winning by 7 wickets with 45 balls to spare.

6. Mithali Raj 103* vs Pakistan 2013

In a display of sheer determination and resilience, Mithali Raj rose to the occasion when her team needed her the most during the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013 7th place playoff against Pakistan. Coming in to bat in the 3rd over, with the score at a precarious 8-1, Mithali found herself facing a daunting task as wickets continued to tumble around her at regular intervals.

As partnerships faltered and the opposition bowlers pressed hard, Mithali remained the epitome of calmness, meticulously constructing her innings while weathering the storm. With each passing over, she showcased her class and expertise, expertly rotating the strike and punishing the loose deliveries to keep the scoreboard ticking. Her innings was a testament to her unparalleled skill and temperament under pressure, as she single-handedly steered her team towards a respectable total.

Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, Mithali’s unbeaten knock of 103 runs off 141 balls not only lifted her team’s spirits but also silenced the critics, establishing her as a stalwart of the game. Her innings was not just about scoring runs; it was a masterclass in grit, determination, and leadership, inspiring her teammates and leaving an indelible mark on the annals of women’s cricket history.

7. Thirush Kamini 100 vs West Indies 2013

In a high-pressure opening match of the 2013 World Cup, India, batting first against West Indies, needed a strong start to set the tone for the tournament. Opener Thirush Kamini shouldered the responsibility after her partner’s early dismissal. Facing the initial swing bowling attack with composure, she began cautiously, focused on building a solid foundation for the middle order. Her patient approach paid off as she reached her fifty off 72 balls, an innings that showcased her maturity and understanding of the situation.

As the innings progressed, she shifted gears, transforming from a rock at the crease into an aggressive force. The West Indian bowlers, initially successful in containing the Indian openers, struggled to handle Kamini’s increasing domination. Her magnificent 100 runs came off 146 balls, a knock studded with 11 fours and a six. This was not just her first World Cup century; it was a record-breaking feat – the highest individual score by an Indian batter in a World Cup match at the time.

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8. Mithali Raj 91* vs New Zealand 2005 Semi-Final

In the 2005 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup semi-final, India faced New Zealand at SuperSport Park, Potchefstroom. After being put in to bat, India struggled initially, losing Jaya Sharma for a duck and Anju Jain for 11, reducing them to 38 for 2. The situation demanded a steady hand, and Mithali Raj, the Indian captain, stepped up to the challenge. Coming in with India at a precarious position, Raj played a masterful innings of 91 not out off 104 balls. Her knock included 9 boundaries and was marked by patience, precision, and strategic shot selection. As wickets fell around her, including the crucial one of Anjum Chopra who scored 44, Raj held the innings together, guiding India from a vulnerable 104 for 3 to a competitive total of 204 for 6. Her partnerships, especially the 66-run stand with Hemlata Kala, were crucial in stabilizing the Indian innings.

Mithali Raj’s innings not only provided the foundation for a defendable total but also exemplified leadership and resilience under pressure. Her composed and strategic batting ensured that India had a solid total to defend. Raj’s innings was the key factor in this success, setting up a total that allowed India’s bowlers to exert pressure and eventually secure the win.

9. Smriti Mandhana 90 vs England 2017

In the opening match of the 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, India clashed with England at County Ground, Derby. Opting to bat first, India faced a formidable English bowling attack but remained undeterred. Smriti Mandhana, the dynamic left-handed opener, showcased her class with a blistering knock. Mandhana’s innings of 90 runs off just 72 deliveries was a masterclass in aggressive yet controlled batting. She peppered the boundaries with 11 fours and lofted two sixes, steering India to a commanding total of 281 for 3 in their allotted 50 overs. Her partnership with Punam Raut laid the groundwork for India’s innings, setting a challenging target for the host nation.

Despite England’s brave efforts in the chase, they fell short by 35 runs, managing only 246 runs in their allotted overs. Mandhana’s knock not only powered India to a winning start in the tournament but also established her as a key player in the team’s campaign.

10. Fowzieh Khalili 88 vs England 1982

In a tense World Cup encounter against England in 1982, Fowzieh Khalili stood tall for India with a gritty knock that defied the batting woes of her teammates. India, batting first, saw wickets tumble consistently, threatening a low total.

Walking out to bat to the challenge of building the innings from an early stage, she displayed remarkable composure. Her determined batting style came to the fore as she tackled the English bowling attack. While others around her fell cheaply, Khalili anchored the innings, focusing on accumulating runs steadily. Her 88 runs showcased a well-rounded batting skillset. Without her vital contribution, India’s total could have been significantly lower. Her knock was not just about personal glory; it provided a crucial platform for India to set a somewhat challenging target. In a close match that went down to the wire, Khalili’s fighting spirit and top score of 88 runs were a beacon of hope for India, a testament to her ability to bat under pressure and a vital contribution for her team.

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