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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2018 Women's batting winner: the Harmonster reboot

Harmanpreet Kaur's record hundred blindsided New Zealand in the very first match of the Women's World T20

Annesha Ghosh
Annesha Ghosh
Harmanpreet Kaur eyes the leg side, India v New Zealand, Women's World T20, Group B, Guyana, November 9, 2018

Harmanpreet's 103 against New Zealand was the first T20I hundred by an Indian woman  •  International Cricket Council

The first standalone Women's World T20 called on all stakeholders to #WatchThis - 23 matches across 16 days in the most saleable format. All it took for the tournament to deliver its biggest blockbuster, though, was 19.3 overs.
Reprising her otherworldly performance in the 2017 World Cup semi-final, India T20I captain Harmanpreet set opponents New Zealand on the route to a group-stage exit with a grandstand 51-ball 103 in the first match of the tournament.
Pooled alongside favourites Australia and the higher-ranked New Zealand in Group B, India had their task cut out. They started off by losing 3 for 40 inside the Powerplay. Harmanpreet had tiptoed to 5 off 13 balls but then switched to beast mode to reach her fifty off 33. Another 16 deliveries fetched her the hundred, her first in the format, and the first by an Indian woman. In between, she battled cramps that called for the physio's attention, but ran a couple to get to the milestone - which was met with a diffident raise of the bat, a far cry from her fiery non-celebration in the World Cup semi-final. What remained the same, though, was the nature of the two tons: big, blinding, badass, lending credence to her big-match temperament.

Key moment

Harmanpreet muscled eight sixes in her 51-ball rampage, equalling the tournament's tally for the whole of the previous edition. The first, marking a change of gear, followed the five scratchy runs scored off 13 balls: Harmanpreet slunk down the track to send a Jess Watkin full toss hurtling into the midwicket advertising cordon. This was followed by a mistimed slice four balls later that flew over long-off and fetched another six. Together, Harmanpreet and partner Jemimah Rodrigues put together a 134-run stand - the highest for India in T20Is - that underpinned India's 194 for 4, the highest total of the tournament.

The numbers

8 The number of sixes hit by Harmanpreet was the most by an Indian in a T20I match. She beat her own record of five sixes against Sri Lanka in September.
201.96 Harmanpreet's strike rate in the match, the best by an India batsman, and the third-highest overall in an innings of 50 or more runs in a Women's World T20.

What they said

"Great innings from @ImHarmanpreet. This is what we expect from the @WorldT20…"
- Sir Vivian Richards
"What an innings by @ImHarmanpreet As Captain you want to lead well & in the #WT20 you want to start off well. She has certainly done that!!
- Lisa Sthalekar

The closest contenders

Danielle Wyatt, 124 v India, Mumbai
The second of her two T20I hundreds in as many games, the 64-ball boundary-studded blitz against India on a flat Brabourne Stadium track was the capstone of England's record chase of 199 and their runners-up finish to Australia in the tri-series.
Chamari Atapattu, 115 v India, Katunayake
The Sri Lanka captain's heavy lifting at home upstaged Mithali Raj's hundred, set up the hosts' highest successful ODI chase, denied India a clean sweep, and broke a half-decade-long ten-match winless stretch in ODIs against India.

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo