Thursday, July 25, 2024

ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 – Players to watch

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Photo Credit: ICC

There will barely be the need for floodlights at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 with all the stars on show.

Ten teams will battle it out to get their hands on the trophy Australia currently hold and they will need big individual performances if they are to come out on top. 

Here is a selection of the players, from established stars to new kids on the block, to take note of ahead of the action getting underway…

Ashleigh Gardner 
1,031 runs at an average of 26.43, 42 wickets at an average of 20.83 
Australian all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner sealed her place in the history books when she took the winning catch in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 final and has kept improving since cementing her place in a stacked batting line-up. 
She reached the summit of the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Rankings for T20I All-rounders for the first time in December 2022 after 115 runs and seven wickets in Australia’s series against India. 

Heather Graham 
Seven wickets at 10.00, best figures of four for eight 
Heather Graham had to patiently wait for her return to international cricket having played one ODI in 2019. She was called into the 2022 World Cup squad for a single match after Gardner’s positive Covid test but did not play. 
In December, however, the medium-pace all-rounder made her T20I debut and quickly made an impact, taking three for 22 against India before rounding off the series with figures of four for eight.

Nigar Sultana 
1,225 runs at 24.50, 18 catches, 27 stumpings 
Last year, Nigar Sultana led her side to a first appearance at an ODI World Cup, now she will hope to guide her side to the semi-finals of the T20 tournament for the first time. 
The wicketkeeper, 25, was Bangladesh’s leading run-scorer in 2022 across both white-ball formats, leading the way in the Asia Cup and T20I and ODI series against New Zealand, amassing 367 T20 runs across the year.

Nahida Akter 
72 wickets at 13.19, best figures of five for 12 
Nigar topped the run charts but young spinner Nahida Akter was top of the wicket-taking table for Bangladesh with 22 across the year. 
Nahida made her debut as a 15-year-old and seven years later took her first T20I five-wicket haul against Kenya in the Commonwealth Games qualifiers.

Nat Sciver 
1,959 runs at 25.11, 78 wickets at 20.94 
England all-rounder Nat Sciver had a remarkable 2022 on and off the pitch. Sciver twice scored centuries in losing causes against Australia at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, married teammate Katherine Brunt and took a three-month break from the game for her mental health. 
Sciver, who ended 2022 as a nominee for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year, marked her return by being named Player of the Series as England whitewashed the West Indies.

Charlie Dean 
11 wickets at 5.90, best figures of four for 19 
Off-spinner Charlie Dean made her England debut across all three formats in the space of four months before taking 11 wickets at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022.
Dean celebrated her first England contract by excelling in her side’s tour of the West Indies, taking 11 wickets across four T20Is. 

Smriti Mandhana 
2,565 runs at 27.28 with a best score of 86 
With legendary captain Mithali Raj retiring, India needed a new leader with the bat and Smriti Mandhana has taken up the mantle. 
Mandhana played a key role when India handed Australia their only defeat of 2022, named player of the match after scoring 79 runs, plus 13 in the super over. The left-hander also picked up a nomination for the ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year. 

Renuka Singh
23 wickets at 25.08, best of four for 10 
Renuka Singh made her debut for India at the end of 2021 but announced herself on the world stage at the Commonwealth Games last summer, taking 11 wickets including four for 18 in their opener against Australia. 
At the Asia Cup, Singh proved she is a big game player, taking three for five against Sri Lanka in the final, earning the player of the match award and a nomination for ICC Emerging Women’s Cricketer of the Year. 


Gaby Lewis
1,441 runs at 26.20 with a best of 105 not out 
Ireland are returning to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup for the first time since 2018 and vice-captain Gaby Lewis will be on hand to provide plenty of their runs. 
Lewis made her international debut aged only 13 and has since crunched 1441 runs, including 144 in Ireland’s three-match series against Pakistan in November 2022, when she was named player of the series. 

Arlene Kelly
60 runs at 7.50, 21 wickets at 15.23 
Auckland-born all-rounder Arlene Kelly stepped onto the world stage in 2022 and was soon leaving batters dumbfounded with her right-arm medium pace. 
The 29-year-old has taken 21 wickets at an average of just 15.23, and while she is yet to truly shine with the bat, her 28 not out against Bangladesh last September is the highest score made by a number nine in Women’s T20Is. 

New Zealand

Eden Carson 
11 wickets at 11.81, with a best of two for 12 
Eden Carson’s debut tournament ended with a shiny bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games and she will be hoping for something similar as New Zealand search for a first T20 title.
In only eight matches, the off-spinner has faced three of the White Ferns’ group stages opponents, including taking three wickets in two matches against Bangladesh, but she will face the biggest test of her credentials so far when they take on holders and rivals Australia in their opening game.

Jess Kerr
12 wickets 24.16, with a best of two for 13 
Jess Kerr occasionally lived in younger sister Amelia’s shadow during their early careers but has now carved out a place in the New Zealand side as an opening bowler.
Kerr missed the Commonwealth Games with an injury but has made up for it by gaining experience in international T20 leagues, playing alongside her sister at Brisbane Heat and London Spirit with both also representing Wellington in New Zealand – as both their mother and father had done before them.


Tuba Hassan 
14 wickets at 16.42, best of three for eight 
Tuba Hassan had a debut to remember in May 2022, taking three for eight against Sri Lanka in a sign of what is to come for the leg-spinner. 
An ICC Women’s Player of the Month award for May followed, Tuba having taken five wickets across the Sri Lanka series while conceding just 3.66 runs per over, making history as the first Pakistani women to claim the prize.

Nida Dar

1,603 runs at 18.42, 118 wickets at 18.18 
All-rounder Nida Dar followed Tuba in winning the ICC Player of the Month award in October, her imperious form producing 145 runs at an average of 72.50 as well as eight wickets during Pakistan’s Asia Cup campaign.
Across 124 T20I matches for Pakistan, Nida has been dependable with bat and ball, taking 118 wickets – second behind the West Indies’ Anisa Mohammad in the all-time rankings – and contributing seven fifties. 

South Africa

Laura Wolvaardt 
776 runs at 28.74, with a high score of 55 not out 
When Laura Wolvaardt brings out her cover drive, people stop and take notice.
The right-hander’s favourite shot is a thing of beauty but there is a grit to Wolvaardt too, which she displayed when making 41 off 27 as South Africa tried, and ultimately failed, to beat Australia in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 semi-final. 

Nonkululeko Mlaba
16 wickets at 26.81 with a best of three for 22
Part of the new guard of South African stars, Nonkululeko Mlaba had a slow start to life on the international stage but has put in performances when needed in the lead-up to a home World Cup. 
The slow left-armer has played only one T20I at home so far and shone in Derby during South Africa’s tour of England, taking three for 22 as one of only two Proteas bowlers to go at under six an over. 

Sri Lanka
Inoka Ranaweera 
68 wickets at 17.94 with a best of four for seven 
Inoka Ranaweera had never taken four wickets in a T20I until 2022, when she took four for seven in just two overs against Bangladesh as Sri Lanka went on a fairytale run to the final of the Asia Cup for the first time in 14 years. 
The slow left-armer took a joint-best 13 wickets across the tournament before ending as Sri Lanka’s top scorer in the final with 18 not out. 

Harshitha Samarawickrama
508 runs at 18.81 with a high of 81 
Harshitha Samarawickrama was Sri Lanka’s highest run-scorer at the Asia Cup, behind only Jemimah Rodrigues of India in the tournament as a whole. 
Samarawickrama made the highest score of the competition with 81 off 69 balls against Thailand helping her total career run tally to 508 runs from 33 matches.

West Indies

Hayley Matthews 
1,326 runs at 18.41, 72 wickets at 17.33 
Captain extraordinaire Hayley Matthews will lead West Indies in a World Cup for the first time having delivered for her side on several occasions – most notably in the 2016 final.
The all-rounder was the Windies’ top-scorer in the showpiece with 66 runs from 45 balls, also taking one for 13, and now leads the Caribbean side through a transitional period.

Karishma Ramharack
11 wickets at 27.00 with a best of three for eight 
With a new era underway for West Indies women’s cricket, the Maroon Warriors need reliability and Karishma Ramharack can provide just that. 
The off-spinner has one of the best economy rates of the current crop of Windies bowlers, going at a tick over six an over, and combined her usual miserly form with a wicket-taking threat during her career-best three for eight against South Africa.


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