© Getty Images
Harmanpreet Kaur became the first Indian to score 150-plus score in World Cup © Getty Images

Please tell me this Harmanpreet Kaur innings did not happen. Please. This 115-ball 171 was not supposed to happen. There was no way this innings is real. You simply do not bash Australian Women (I repeat, Australia Women) in a World Cup semi-final. That is not feasible. You are obviously free to smash records, but not against Australia Women (I used the team name thrice in the first paragraph, something no one is supposed to do) at this stage of a mega tournament. Did I mention that she was carrying an injury? But then, that is hardly relevant: she has been taped up for more or less the entire tournament…

Forget the records (highest score for India Women in World Cups and all that). Forget the pressure under which Harmanpreet batted today. Forget the fact that India were 101 for 3 after 25 overs when Mithali Raj fell (what, they scored 180 runs in the last 17 overs?). Forget the fact that Deepti Sharma got a mere 25 out of the 137-run stand. Forget the compliment paid by Bishan Singh Bedi, who compared the innings to the greatest ever by an Indian in the World Cup.

No, no, no. There is more to this. Years of watching cricket have made me do things. I have yelled till my throat went hoarse and punch the wall to shriek in agony. I have gnawed through my fingernails till my fingers bled incessantly.

But all that was in the past, in an era when I was a teenage fan. I am a journalist today. I am not a teenager anymore. I am supposed to stay calm when they hit sixes. I am supposed to stay unbiased.

And then there are performances — like today’s — that challenge your journalistic ethics to the very end. You feel like yelling like you used to do. And then you look around and realise you should not.

And then Harmanpreet gets down on her left knee and slog-sweeps and clears the ropes with ease. I almost applaud and yell. I sense a rush of adrenaline from whatever gland it is that only physiologists know.

If Harmanpreet felt the same rush it did not show. There was a cover-drive the next ball, so precise that it was almost out of a geometry test. And then she lofted again and placed again. And again. And again.

Even she lost it once when Deepti was almost run out. It was Mohali 2010 all over again, the typically ice-cool senior partner yelling uncharacteristically at the rookie against Australia.

She had to be treated. The spray came out. She limped towards the end. Nothing mattered. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Down poured the sixes and fours as the records were washed away in a deluge of runs so devastating that a desperate Meg Lanning had to ask Elyse Villani to bowl her first over with only 24 balls to go.

Villani probably got Deepti — or did she? Ah, the scorecard: yes, she did. Then Ellyse Perry pulled things back with a tight over. Then Harmanpreet exploded, again, for two sixes, or maybe five or ten or twenty, it did not matter, because I had realised was busy applauding and cheering and everything around me conspiring to become a Harmanpreet.

For the last two overs I became Harmanpreet and I became biased and I cheered and I yelled and I forgot what everything was about and I was laughing because I cannot remember watching anything like this.

Did I mention she was limping? Did I mention this was against Australia Women in a World Cup semi-final? Did I mention she scored at a strike rate of 149? Did I mention that India Women got only 246 during her stay she walloped her way to 171 not out? I must have, right?

Or did I forget everything, everything as Harmanpreet smashed the Australians into a state of such insipid facelessness that you could not distinguish one bowler from the other as the entire attack kept getting smashed?

Wait, what was that concept of neutrality again, the one every journalist is supposed to respect and abide by?