Australian captain Rachael Haynes says Indian superstar Harmanpreet Kaur’s batting will be one of the highlights of Tuesday’s clash between Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Stars.
Kaur starred in last year’s inaugural Border Bash fixture, taking 4-27 as the Stars were bowled out for 116 and backed it up with an unbeaten 30 in the eight-wicket victory.
But it was her 171 not out, which destroyed Australia’s World Cup campaign earlier this year in England, which catapulted her to international stardom.
“I think the way she timed it as well, it was outstanding,” Haynes said.
“It wasn’t all bash and crash, she really built momentum within the innings and when the right time came to accelerate, she did that.”
Kaur hit 20 boundaries and seven sixes, with the third 50 off just 17 balls.
“The speed her hands get through the ball, it’s really great to watch,” Haynes said.
“No doubt, from the spectators’ point of view, they’ll really enjoy what she brings, a little bit more wristy, as are most of the subcontinent players, so it brings a different element to our game.”
Haynes didn’t play that semi-final, but rates it among the best she’s seen.
“There’s been some really good innings of late to be honest,” she said.
“Harmanpreet’s innings was one and Alex Blackwell (90) also batted very well during that match and both those players will be on show.”
Stars’ captain Kristen Beams did play that day and says her Thunder opponent is among the world’s most exciting players.
“There’s so many to be honest, Harmanpreet Kaur has had an amazing World Cup,” she said.
“I think we’re seeing those players who dominated the World Cup (including Melbourne Renegades’ Chamari Atapattu) actually play in the WBBL, which is really exciting for everyone.”
The Thunder has three overseas players and the experienced Haynes says she’s learning all the time from a star like Kaur.
“I think really the opportunity to play alongside her and even train with her and see how she goes about preparing (is extremely beneficial),” she said.
Haynes, Kaur and Thunder captain Blackwell will look to spearhead the powerful batting line-up, while West Indian Stafanie Taylor is capable of destroying an attack.
Taylor made a 49-ball score of 90 in her T20 international debut in 2008 and five years later became the only player to hold the number one ODI ranking in both batting and bowling simultaneously.
The Thunder-Stars will start the action at the Lavington Sportsground at 2pm, while the men’s match will follow from 6.30.
Last year’s games attracted 9962 fans.