Harmanpreet Kaur becomes first Indian to score a T20 century

Harmanpreet Kaur

Kaur shared a 134-run fourth-wicket partnership with Jemimah Rodrigues (59) as the 50-over World Cup runners-up recovered from 40-3 to post 194-5, the highest total in the history of the competition.

In reply, New Zealand were stopped at 160 for nine. "I was just looking how much we need to win the game and we knew they have really good batters", Harmanpreet said. "I knew it was a good batting track, if I settle down, I can get the runs, that's what I was thinking".

India were in a spot of bother when Hemalatha was dismissed, and another wicket would have only added to their worry.

Harmanpreet, whose scintillating 171 against Australia in the World Cup semifinal a year ago remains fresh in the memory, looked comfortable from the word go and, in the company of Jemimah, built the innings with consummate ease.

"We need to focus on the first six overs, because when you have only two fielders outside, how much can you get, it's always a plus point for us", Harmanpreet said.

Jemimah Rodrigues too played a solid knock, scoring 59 off 45 ball to be the ideal foil to her captain.

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Her team added a staggering 118 runs in last 10 overs, thanks to a flurry of boundaries and sixes by Harmanpreet.

The right-hander also revealed that she was uncomfortable taking singles and twos and hence, chose to go for the big shots instead of investing too much energy on running between the wickets.

That was just one of the big overs for the team. "Later on when I went for batting ... when initially I was running two runs, I got a cramp, and after that physio gave me the medicine and then it settled down".

A brilliant leaping catch in the deep from Hayley Jensen saw the end of Smriti Mandhana (2) and, although Kaur hit just five runs off her first 13 balls, she soon found her groove, bringing up her half-century off 33.

After Bates' dismissal, the contest was as good as over as India kept up the pressure on their opponents.

After taking India to a secure position, Harmanpreet started her assault on the New Zealand bowlers. Hemalatha and Poonam Yadav finsihed with three wickets apiece for India while Radha Yadav bagged two. She peppered the boundaries at will and hit maximums with complete ease.

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