Harmanpreet Kaur's 171 takes India to 281/4

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Harmanpreet Kaur's 171 takes India to 281/4

Harmanpreet Kaur could barely walk, but she was floating on air.

Ever since her second ODI ton, Smriti Mandhana's form has dipped quite drastically. Those comments came from a place of disappointment after her team had lost to Australia in the group stage.

"I've seen her bat like that before but not for that long and she hit the ball incredibly well today", Blackwell said.

Raj has so often been India's saviour with the bat, but Kaur stepped when her country needed her, bringing up her third ODI ton in freaky circumstances.

However, she went into the beast mode on the big day. Leigh Gardner halted India's march in her first over itself, nabbing Punam for 14. She called it a "heat of the moment" slip in the mid-innings break, and said that she apologized to Deepti. Harmanpreet did not think twice before setting off, yet again, and covered the 22-yards twice to help India finish with a mammoth 281 on the board.

And the all-rounder didn't slow down as 17 balls later she brought up her 150 - with 46 of those runs coming in boundaries. Mithali and Veda also scored really well.

Mithali was lucky to be dropped on 34, but her stay was short-lived as she was bowled on the very next delivery.

When Sharma took a simple caught-and-bowled catch to get rid off opener Nicole Bolton, Australia were reeling on 21-3. Deepti Sharma joined Harmanpreet but she never looked there because that is how the latter dominated the proceedings in the second half of the innings. The Australians by now had failed to find an answer to Harmanpreet's onslaughts.

It was out of the world power-hitting by the girl from Moga district in Punjab - something that has made her a stand-out player for India. She also is second behind Mithali among India's leading run-getters in the tournament.

Kaur's unbeaten 171 runs innings from 115 balls anchored the innings of Indian team through out. Veda Krishnamurthy provided the ideal foil to Harmanpreet adding 43 runs for the fifth wicket.

A defeated Meg Lanning cut a solemn figure and the captain believes there's a lot for Australia to improve on if they're to achieve more silverware, although they are still waiting on their future with contract discussions on-going between Cricket Australia and Australian Cricketers' Association.

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