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July 20, 2017: Jhulan Goswami’s magical delivery to dismiss Meg Lanning

India batted first. We witnessed ‘Hurricane Harman’ in action. Harmanpreet Kaur’s savage knock of 171* should be enough for India to take the team through unless you face Australia. Unless you don’t bring in your A-game with the ball. Unless you dismiss Meg Lanning.

I tell you, Meg Lanning is not your everyday player. She doesn’t like to be dominated. She hates to come second. Being in the headlines is her bread and butter. Leading from the front is what she thrives for. The pressure usually brings the best out of her. Oh, she is always been the best. It doesn’t matter where and when she plays.

Now, it’s the knockouts and the whole team certainly rely on Lanning to produce. It’s more like mandatory. Only she can make the whole opponent shiver despite having scored a lot of runs. But it’s Lanning. Do you not remember how she stole the limelight from Atapattu?
She can produce knocks like that every single day. India knows it, the world knows it.

Mooney had to go early and India was on top already. Lanning walks in.
The innings was just seven deliveries old. After producing a ripper, Pandey slides one on the leg, Lanning steals a leg-bye, goes to the non-striker’s end. Two deliveries later, she defends.

Goswami was in great form. She was hitting the right spot and the conditions were helping her too. Right. Lanning faces Goswami yet again. This time she guides an outside off delivery to the point. No run.

The next delivery, the first glimpse of excellence from Goswami. She pitched outside off but the ball did the duty by curving away late. Lanning had no idea. She was beaten. Lanning was beaten. She looked almost fragile and that’s one of the best batters around the world.

Goswami was having fun. The next delivery, she cuts her length and Lanning was quick to defend.

Both Bolton and Lanning were tightly defending as Pandey and Goswami were having fun at the middle. Oh, it is a beautiful scene if you love the pacers doing wonders with the swing.

It was the fourth delivery of the fourth over. Lanning was under a little bit of pressure as she was yet to get on the mark and Indian bowlers were stealing dots. She had to try something. She had to make herself comfortable and at least get past to the other side. Whereas, India knows that. Being around for years, Goswami knows that. There she goes.

Goswami runs in quick. It is a fiery scene. You don’t want to be in the receiving end for sure. Lanning stands a bit inside, Her legs were covering the middle stump. While her bat is waiting on the air. She was standing still, posing.

Goswami pitches the ball right at the middle, Lanning sees the release, goes on the front foot, her bat goes a bit high. She is covering all the three stumps now. Her bat is hanging on air just outside the off-stump. This should have been easy. Or not. Lanning realises that she is stranded. As the ball comes closer, she hurries to her back foot. She tries to defend but the ball straightens away and goes past the edge. She knows she is out. She was disappointed and did not move from her position for a second, maybe, praying for the ball to miss the stumps. The prayers didn’t work that day as the ball kisses the top of off-stump. Lanning did not turn at all. She begins to walk back, disappointed. A walk of shame. She did not lift her head at all. Probably, the slowest walk she had in her life. It was hurtful and disappointing.

A completely different scenario among the Indians. As Goswami finishes her run-up, she sees the bails flying and she roars. You see her jump, a fist pump. No matter where you are watching the game, you could hear her roar C’mon. She deserves it. She deserves that celebration. It was not a ball that you could deliver daily. Of course, she delivered it when it mattered. At the semi-final, against Australia, against someone like Lanning. This doesn’t happen daily and Goswami deserves it.

Despite Blackwell’s wonder innings, India comfortably won the match and flew to the final but nothing would have happened without Goswami’s magic.

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