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Five moments to remember from women's cricket in 2018

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Women's_Cricket_momentsThe year 2018 was path-breaking for women’s cricket in many ways. Plenty of new batting records were created, which put to rest the widely-held belief that women lack the wherewithal to go for the power shots. The right to play T20 internationals was made available to all nations, and for the first time, the Women’s World T20 was played as a standalone event. As we take our first steps into 2019, here is a look back at the year’s key moments from the women’s game.

March – England’s record chase at the Brabourne

England surpassed their own record for the highest successful chase in women’s T20Is with a breathtaking pursuit of India’s imposing 198/4 in the third match of a tri-nation series, also involving Australia, at the iconic Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. The star of the day was opener Danielle Wyatt, who creamed 15 fours and five sixes en route to a 64-ball 124 – the highest T20I score by an Englishwoman – as her team cruised to a seven-wicket win with eight balls to spare.

The previous highest target chased in women’s T20Is was 179 by England against Australia at Canberra in 2017-18, and incidentally, Wyatt had scored a century on that occasion as well. England’s 199/3 was also their highest total, but only until three months later, when they amassed a world-record 250/3 against South Africa at Taunton. Remarkably, the previous record total of 216/1 was set just hours earlier, by New Zealand against South Africa at the same venue.  

June – New Zealand and Amelia Kerr make merry in Dublin

The heavy run-scoring in women's cricket was not just limited to the T20 format. Prior to their English sojourn, New Zealand played a three-match ODI series in Dublin. Captain Suzie Bates and debutant Jessica Watkin (62) set the tone for the rest of the series with an opening stand of 172 inside 19 overs in the first match at Claremont Road. Bates went on to smash 152 off 94 balls, with 24 fours and two sixes, and when she got out, the score read 288/2 in 30 overs.

Madeline Green (122 from 77 balls) and Amelia Kerr (81 from 45) ensured that there was no respite for the Irishwomen, as they swelled the White Ferns’ total towards a mind-boggling 491/4. This went past New Zealand’s own 455/5, made against Pakistan at Christchurch in 1996-97, as the highest total in women’s ODIs. A beleaguered Ireland were bowled out for 144 in reply. The second ODI saw a similar story, as New Zealand won by 306 runs after posting 418.

If Ireland were looking for consolation at Castle Avenue, the 17-year-old Kerr put paid to such hopes. For over two decades, Belinda Clark’s 229* for Australia against Denmark at the 1997 World Cup had been untouched as the highest score in women’s ODIs. Kerr had it obliterated with a stunning 232* in 145 balls, lit with 31 fours and two sixes, that took the total to 440/3. Not yet content, she snared 5/17 with her leg-breaks to ensure a 305-run win for New Zealand.

June – Tigresses roar to Asia Cup glory

Bangladesh, led by Salma Khatun, put an end to India’s monopoly at the Women’s Asia Cup with a stirring display in Kuala Lumpur, proving that they are longer pushovers. India had won each of the previous six editions of the tournament (played in the ODI format from 2004 to 2008 and in the T20 format from 2012 onwards) and found themselves in the final against Bangladesh this time. For Bangladesh, it was their first final, courtesy of four wins from five group matches.

Significantly, one of those wins was against India. When the two teams met again in the summit clash, off-spinner Khadija Tul Kobra (2/23) and leg-spinner Rumana Ahmed (2/22) helped limit India to 112/9, with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (56) scoring half the runs. Nigar Sultana (27) and Rumana (23) anchored a tense chase, before it all came down to two off the last ball. Jahanara Alam dived for the second run to seal a three-wicket win, sparking joy in the Bangladeshi camp.

July – International T20 status for all member nations

In a welcome decision, the International Cricket Council granted T20I status to all of its 104 member nations. For women’s matches, this came into force in July, leading to the T20I debuts of teams such as Chile, China, Thailand (who impressed at the Asia Cup by toppling Sri Lanka) and Uganda, to name a few. As a result, a few new records were seen as well – for instance, Botsogo Mpedi’s return of 6/8 for Botswana against Lesotho is now the best in women’s T20Is.

November – Southern Stars win their fourth World T20 title

For the first time since its inception in 2009, the Women’s World T20 was staged as a standalone tournament, without the men’s event being played simultaneously. This underlined the immense progress made by women’s T20 cricket in the past few years, both on the international and domestic scene. The West Indies played host to what was the sixth edition of the tournament, which had some enthralling action in the course of a fortnight, and produced a familiar winner.

India signalled their intentions early, winning all four games in their group, including one by 48 runs against Australia. However, they were knocked out after going down to England by eight wickets in the semifinal. Australia prevailed in the other semifinal, condemning the West Indies, the defending champions, to a 71-run defeat. Australia thus entered the final for the fifth successive time, and faced old foes England at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound.

England never really got going after Heather Knight won the toss, and lost their last seven wickets for 41 to be bowled out for a modest 105. Alyssa Healy (22) began Australia’s response, before Ashleigh Gardner (33*) and captain Meg Lanning (28*) put on 62* in eight overs to see their team over the line by eight wickets with 29 balls left. Healy was named the player of the tournament for her tally of 225 runs at 56.25, not to mention eight dismissals behind the wicket.



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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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