As the year draws to a close and one brushes off the dust accumulated on the resolutions diary, it is time to look back, reflect, ruminate and applaud the fabulous women’s cricket that we have been witness to. We offer our top 5 individual cricket performances of the year. Some caveats:
1) All formats (Test, ODI, T20) were considered for selection.
2) Performances across the period of 1st Dec 2016 to 1st Dec 2017 were considered.
3) The context of the match was given substantial weight. For example in case of the World Cup, a match-winning performance in a knockout was given more importance than that in a league match.
1. Anya Shrubsole 6-46 (England vs India, Final ICC Women’s World Cup, Jul 23 2017 )
Well, it can’t get bigger than a World Cup final, in front of a home crowd to boot. Set a modest total of 229, India were in the driver’s seat requiring only 91 off 100 deliveries to lift the coveted trophy. But Shrubsole had other plans. She clambered inside the car, took control and raced away to steer England home to a famous victory. She got rid of the well-set Punam Raut for 86 and also accounted for the dangerous Veda Krishnamurthy to derail India’s chase. She claimed five wickets in 19 balls completely changing the course of the match and made history by bagging the best ever figures in a Women’s World Cup final. Shrubsole was shortlisted for the 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for her stunning performance and was the only cricketer among the nominees.
2. Harmanpreet Kaur 171* off 115 balls (India vs Australia, Semi-Final ICC Women’s World Cup, Jul 20 2017)
By the end of the Indian innings, the name Kaur resonated in all parts of the cricketing world. Everyone sat up and took notice of the fiery player who single-handedly powered India into the World Cup finals, knocking the defending champions Australia out of the tournament in the process. She pummeled the Aussies to all parts of the ground collecting 20 fours and 7 sixes. Many of her sixes would have easily cleared the boundaries in men’s cricket, such was her power hitting. Though she started off slowly, she accelerated as her innings progressed. Her third fifty came off only 17 deliveries. Her ferocious knock is the highest by any batsman in the knockout stages of the tournament.
3. Ellyse Perry 213* off 374 balls (Australia vs England, Only Test (D/N) The Ashes, Nov 9-12 2017)
It was the first ever day-night women’s Test and Perry ensured it made history in more ways than one with her double century. Australia were precariously placed at 168-5, still well behind England’s first innings total of 280. But Perry’s hard graft propelled Australia to a strong position of 448/9d. Though the Test ended in a draw, Perry’s double ton, a rarity in women’s cricket, enabled the Aussies to hold onto their Ashes lead and Australia went on to retain the Ashes in the following T20. Her score is the third highest in women’s Test history.
4. Beth Mooney 117* off 70 balls and Danielle Wyatt 100 off 57 balls (Australia vs England, 3rd T20 The Ashes, Nov 21 2017)
We simply had to include both Mooney and Wyatt in the fourth position for the match was a tale of two centuries, a first in women’s T20Is. Mooney’s ton, the second highest T20I score in women’s cricket, was a masterclass of clean crisp hitting. A chanceless knock, Mooney unfurled an array of colorful shots and by the end of the first innings, it looked Australia had the game in the bag. The feeling was reinforced with England teetering at 30/3 in their reply. However, Wyatt, aided by some shocking Aussie fielding, displayed a breathtaking audacity. The scoreboard seemed irrelevant to her. Her relentless hitting saw England pull off a cricket heist which ensured that they departed home with an honorable 8-8 Ashes score.
5. Marizanne Kapp 4-13 (South Africa vs West Indies, League Match ICC Women’s World Cup, Jul 2 2017)
While Dane van Niekerk, the South Africa captain, became the first bowler in cricket international history to snap up 4 wickets for 0 runs, the destroyer-in-chief of West Indies was the swing bowler Kapp. Along with her new ball partner Shabnim Ismail, Kapp rattled the West Indies in a single over to send Reniece Boyce, Kyshona Knight, and Deandra Dottin back to the pavilion. With half their side in the hutch, West Indies never recovered and were bundled out for 48, the second-lowest total in their