T20 cricket has completely changed the landscape of cricket in both the men’s and women’s games. The men’s game saw the Indian Premier League (IPL)’s advent – providing a significant boost to cricket financially on a global scale. The shortest format has allowed more countries than ever before to participate – 105 recognized T20 playing nations by ICC).
At the same time, T20 cricket has played a massive part in the growth of women’s cricket. The explosive brand of cricket, portrayed by the women in India and abroad, has wowed spectators worldwide. It has also led to the creation of the Rebel Big Bash League or WBBL and Kia Super League (now changed to The Hundred), providing immense exposure to the girls. Talks of an upcoming women’s IPL is also hotter than ever before. However, the batsmen generally steal the limelight, but we often overlook the massive importance of bowlers in the game.
On that note, let’s take a look at the Top 5 highest Indian wicket-takers of women’s cricket in the shortest format:
#1. Poonam Yadav
The Arjuna Award, which the Sports Ministry bestowed upon her for outstanding achievement in sports, exemplifies her magical career in the Indian cricket team. In her 67-match T20I career, spanning 7 years, Poonam Yadav is the highest Indian wicket-taker in T20 cricket, with 95 scalps to her name. Just shy of 100 wickets, which shouldn’t be a long time wait once the Indian women retake the field after a long break, Yadav has an exceptional bowling average of just 14.38. Keeping it economical at a rate under 6, the 2018 Arjuna Awardee provides the much-needed breaks in the middle overs – arguably, the most crucial phase in T20 cricket. In the recently concluded T20 World Cup, Yadav was a vital cog in India’s run to the finals, taking 10 wickets – just 7 in 2 matches.
#2. Jhulan Goswami
A legend in Indian women’s cricket, Jhulan Goswami takes the runners-up spot. One of the pioneers of modern Indian women’s cricket, Goswami played her first T20I all the way back in 2006 – the same year she became the first and only Indian woman to take 10 wickets in a Test Match. In 67 T20I innings, the speedster has 56 wickets to her name, with a best of 5/11 against the mighty Aussies. At an extremely economical rate of under 5.5, Goswami kept the batsman quiet during the powerplay and death overs, before retiring from T20’s in 2018.
#3. Ekta Bisht
On Number 3 on the list, we have the first women’s international cricketer from Uttarakhand – Ekta Bisht. She has 53 wickets to her name in 42 T20I’s, with an outstanding average of 14.71. An extremely economical bowler at a rate of 5.30, she has seen some time out from the Indian T20 setup, having played her last one in March 2019. The 34-year old left-arm orthodox bowler is the first Indian cricket, men and women included, to take the first-ever hattrick in T20I’s in the 2012 World Cup.
#4. Deepti Sharma
Much talked about cricketer in recent times, not only for her exploits on the field but also due to the prestigious Arjuna Award she was presented by the President at just the age of 23. Hailing from Agra in Uttar Pradesh, she has made her way to Number 4 after only 4 years in the T20 circuit. In just 48 matches, she Sharma has 53 wickets to her name, with a memorable career-best of 4/10 against West Indies. It would be fair to say, the 23-year old has miles to go after the magical start to her cricketing career.
#5. Radha Yadav
Making her debut just a couple of years back, Radha Yadav rounds off the list at Number 5. Hailing from Mumbai, Yadav made her debut a few months before the T20 World Cup in November of 2018, against the South Africans. Since then, there’s been no looking back as she has gone on to claim 49 wickets in just 35 matches. At an excellent strike rate of 15.6, Radha Yadav forms a crucial part of the all-important spin attack in India’s limited-overs cricket. The 20-year old is undoubtedly one to keep an eye on in the future!
Stats as on 8th September