Harmanpreet Kaur has emerged as one of the world's best and most destructive batswomen. Her innings against Australia in the Women's World Cup of 2017 is one of the greatest ever played in the women's game. But on Saturday, November 2, she left everyone stunned with a great display of not her batting but catching skills.
In the first game of a 3-match ODI series against West India, played at Antigua, Kaur was fielding at long-on as the final ball of the innings was being bowled. West Indian batswoman Stefanie Taylor was on strike and batting on 94. She had just hit a six on the previous delivery to move to six runs away from a century. That six was hit over long-on, over Harmanpreet.
On the final delivery of the innings, bowled by Ekta Bisht, Taylor went for another six in the same region. This time, she didn't get the elevation that she would have wanted and Kaur jumped up and while being in the air, took a one-handed catch. What's more, she took this catch with her left hand, her wrong hand.
This was indeed a catch that is hard to forget. But dedicated Indian cricket fans who have followed the game since the early noughties would have been, on watching this grab, instantly reminded of a similar catch, taken by none other than Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, in a 2004 ODI against Pakistan.
The match was the deciding fifth one-dayer in the landmark series played between the hosts and India in 2004. It was a riveting contest, India won the first game by a small margin, then Pakistan came back to take a 2-1 lead before India earned a hard-fought victory to draw level.
In the final game, a hundred by VVS Laxman took India to 293/7 in their 50 overs. The biggest threat to India was Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq who had been in irrepressible form throughout the series. Getting Inzy out was the key to India's victory. Unfortunately for the Men in Blue, the Pakistan skipper was again looking well-set for a big score.
Then, when he was batting on 38, in the 21st over, left-arm spinner Murali Kartik got Inzamam to come down the wicket and loft the ball towards long-on with the aim of getting a six. The fielder at long-on was Sachin Tendulkar himself.
He ran to his left and, while he didn't jump up in the air like Harmanpreet, the little master extended both his hands upwards while managing to stay millimeters away from the boundary line and ensuring that he didn't let his momentum take him over the boundary line, took the catch to pave the way for India's victory.
Clearly, Kaur's catch was more spectacular but Sachin's grab was also very impressive.