May was a very exciting month for women’s cricket this year. The inaugural IPL-style tournament was played in Jaipur dubbed Women’s T20 Challenge. It was expected to be an exciting prospect featuring top Indian names and reputed international names and it did not disappoint. All sides were evenly matched and all matches went down to the wire – with 2 close matches including a last-ball finish in what was a thrilling ending to the tournament. There were 13,000 spectators at the ground watching that final. There were lot of individual performances which contributed significantly to the fate of each side as the top two teams qualifying for the final was decided only on the basis of NRR.
Also played during the month were some international tours. Concurrent to the Women’s IPL, Pakistan toured South Africa which turned out to be a humdinger in itself with South Africa managing to tie the ODI series 1-1 before winning the T20s 3-2. Later this month, West Indies toured Ireland to play 3 T20s and they showed their class by dominating Ireland and winning the series 3-0 as many would expect.
In this article, we look at the top performers in women’s cricket for the month of May 2019. These cricketers deserve special mention as they have performed exceedingly well and helped their side win matches.
Smriti Mandhana was playing for Trailblazers in the Women’s T20 Challenge and they opened the tournament against the Supernovas led by Harmanpreet Kaur. Being put in to bat, she got the tournament off to a rollicking start with a 67-ball 90. Her innings was laced with 10 fours and 3 sixes as she helped her team put on 140/5 in 20 overs and ensured that her innings was not wasted as Trailblazers won by a narrow margin of 2 runs.
Harleen Deol was another star for the Trailblazers in the tournament. In the first match against the Supernovas, she played an important supporting act with Smriti and combined for a partnership of 119 runs, which rescued the team from a poor start. She eventually fell for 36 runs off 44 balls. In the second match against Velocity, she held the innings together by scoring 43 runs off 40 balls. However, with none of the others able to lend their support, they finished with 112/6 and they lost the match. She even took the important wicket of Shafali Verma, who was looking very dangerous.
The talented Indian all-rounder Deepti Sharma also put up a great performance. Representing Trailblazers, she took 4 wickets for 14 runs in the second match against Velocity to spark a collapse and almost win the game for Trailblazers. Combining with Rajeshwari Gayakwad, the pair took 5 wickets in the last two overs to derail the Velocity’s innings when they were in firm control of the match and were almost cruising to victory.
The dashing Indian opener played a pivotal role in Supernovas’ fortunes in all the three matches they played. In their first match against Trailblazers, she made a quick-fire 24 as they lost the first wicket quickly. She departed in the 8th over with the score on 55 bringing some control to their innings. In the second match, she stormed her way to 77 not out in only 48 balls hitting 10 fours and 1 six to help her team post a match-winning score of 142/3, a match which they eventually won by 12 runs. In the finals against Velocity, she again scored 22 runs and helped consolidate her team’s position after an early wicket.
Captaining the Supernovas’ side, Harmanpreet made important contributions with the bat throughout the tournament. In the opening game against Trailblazers, she scored 46 runs off 34 balls hitting 8 fours to almost win the game for her team. In the finals against Velocity, she scored 51 runs off only 37 balls to secure victory for her team. She hit as many as 4 fours and 3 sixes on her way to 51 as her side beat Mithali Raj-led Velocity and became the champions of the tournament.
Danielle Wyatt was also an important cog in the wheel for Velocity. In their first match against Trailblazers, she scored 46 runs off only 35 balls to guide her team to victory. Her innings was filled with gorgeous strokeplay as she hit 5 fours and 2 sixes. In their second game against Supernovas, she scored 43 runs off 33 balls hitting 4 fours and 2 sixes to help her team recover from 2 early wickets at the start of the chase. As long as she was batting, Velocity was in position to win the match and secure direct qualification to the finals.
The veteran Pakistan spinner took 4 for 11 in the first ODI against South Africa. Her bowling led to a batting collapse as South Africa crashed to 63 all out – their second-lowest total in ODI cricket. Pakistan chased the score with ease and won that match. She later became the highest-wicket taking spin-bowler in Women’s ODI cricket taking a total of 147 wickets in her career overtaking West Indian Anisa Mohammed. She also picked up 4 wickets in the T20s.
The South African bowler, Masabata Klaas, made history by securing a hat-trick in the second ODI against Pakistan. She sparked a collapse when Pakistan were relatively well-placed at 141/4 by claiming a hat-trick – only the 10th hat-trick in Women’s ODI cricket and the 2nd by a South African – and reducing Pakistan to 147 all out. She ended up taking 6 wickets in the 3 ODIs. She also picked up 2 wickets in the T20 matches.
The South African opener, Lizelle Lee, had a great series with the bat. In the second ODI, she scored 40 off 43 balls hitting 6 fours and won the second ODI for her team. In the third ODI, she scored 57 off 61 balls hitting 10 fours and building a great platform for South Africa, who ended on 265/6. She carried over her form to the T20s as she scored 3 half-centuries. She first scored 56 off 52 balls in the second T20, then scored 60 runs off only 31 balls in the fourth game and 75 runs off just 48 balls in the fifth.
Laura Wolvaardt helped South Africa build a strong foundation by providing great starts throughout the ODIs. She made 74 runs in the second ODI and followed it up with another half-century in the third to ensure that South Africa won the second ODI and posted a good score in the third.
The South African captain for the series against Pakistan, Sune Luus scored an impressive 80 off 84 deliveries hitting 6 fours and 2 sixes to help her team post a challenging target of 266 in the series-decider. She also took 2 wickets in the second ODI to contribute to Pakistan slide and South African victory. She also contributed in the T20s by scoring a quick-fire 28 off 18 balls in the second T20 and picking up 4 wickets throughout the T20 series.
Aliya Riaz, the talented Pakistan all-rounder contributed with bat and ball throughout the South African tour. She took 2 important wickets in the third ODI and scored 71 off 82 balls hitting 6 fours and 3 sixes to tie the match and series 1-1. She also scored 30 runs off just 24 balls in the third T20 to help Pakistan win the match and 35 off 17 balls in the fourth to set South Africa a challenging target. She also took 3 wickets throughout the T20 series.
Some useful performance by Nida Dar led to Pakistan drawing the ODI series 1-1 and narrowly missing out on the T20 series. She picked up 2 wickets in the first ODI and 1 wicket in the third. She also scored 27 runs in the third ODI which would help in securing a thrilling tie and drawing the series. She was also an important contributor for Pakistan in the T20s that followed. She had picked 5 wickets in the series and contributed with the bat as well, scoring 2 half-centuries – 53 runs off 37 balls in the first T20 match and 75 runs off only 37 balls in the fourth – as well as some impressive cameos throughout the series.
Facing a dominant West Indies side in the T20 series, Kim Garth was a star performer for Ireland. She scored 46 runs off 55 balls in the first match (the sole Irish player to reach double-figures), 51 runs off 48 balls in the second and 45 runs off 46 balls in the third. She complemented her efforts with the ball picking up 4 wickets in the series, thus becoming both the leading run-scorer and the leading wicket-taker in the series for Ireland.
Hayley Mathews earns a notable mention in this list by scoring 107 runs in 62 balls in the third T20 match against Ireland as West Indies blitzed their way to 188/1 in their 20 overs. She hit 7 fours and 9 sixes in that innings ensured that West Indies won the series against Ireland 3-0. Earlier in the second T20, she scored 33 off 32 balls to give her team a strong foundation and win the match.