Photo Credit: ICC
Meg Lanning said her focus was on being a batter as she led Australia’s chase of 272 against South Africa – but Lanning is not just a batter.
She made just under half of Australia’s runs as they whittled down their target with ease, Lanning’s 135 not out an example in timing and chasing.
It is another innings to add to the pile of evidence for Lanning being the greatest chaser in women’s ODI cricket and fittingly, the chasing pack is quite a way off.
The right-hander has made 15 ODI centuries, the most of any woman, and 10 of have them have come in chases.
Lanning aside, only New Zealand’s Suzie Bates has made more than 10 centuries in one-day international cricket with 11 and just three of those have come in chases.
The extraordinary statistics don’t stop there. Today’s ton was Lanning’s third in an ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup chase – no other batter has more than one in a World Cup batting second.
Lanning has equalled Bates, Claire Taylor of England and India’s Harmanpreet Kaur as the only women to score centuries at three consecutive World Cups and her 152 not out from the 2017 edition has been joined by today’s effort in the top three scores in a women’s ODI chase – Lanning has all three of them.
While the statistics exemplify Lanning’s ruthless dominance, her innings today was more about respect as she came up against one of the fiercest seam attacks in world cricket.
Lanning said: “I thought today, in particular, I showed a bit more patience at the start, understanding the threats that were there with [Shabnim] Ismail and [Marizanne] Kapp.
“I left a number of balls, which is not normal for me, but I felt like that was the way to play this wicket to get myself in.
“It’s just about adjusting to the conditions that are in front of me. We all love to go out there and hit the ball well from ball one, but sometimes the conditions don’t allow that.
“You need to just adjust and get yourself in to really give yourself a chance.”
That didn’t stop her pulling out the shots as she got motoring, racking up 15 fours and one six as she reached a 92-ball century.
And while Lanning says she is just a batter out in the middle, her efforts today keep Australia on track to hold both the ODI and T20 World Cups at once.
That would be enough pressure on its own but Lanning is also captaining the side, who are ranked No.1 in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s ODI Team Rankings and have an unbeaten record to maintain.
For some that would be too much but Lanning doesn’t seem to mind. Whether it is a weight of runs or expectations against her, she delivers.