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Wisden’s women’s team of the year

Women's Team of the Year
by Wisden Staff 9 minute read

In the latest issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly, a 13-strong panel of writers picked their cross-format women’s team of the year based on performances between October 22, 2017 and November 24, 2018.

Words: Jo Harman and Raf Nicholson

1.SMRITI MANDHANA, INDIA

12 ODIs, 669 runs at 66.90, 1 hundred, 7 fifties, strike rate 91 | 25 T20Is, 622 runs at 28.27, 5 fifties, strike rate 131

Recently named among the world’s 50 most marketable athletes in a survey conducted by SportsPro Media (Kohli and Buttler were the only other two cricketers to appear in the list), in the past year Mandhana has progressed from star-in-waiting to the most exciting, and most stylish, young batting talent in the game.

Smriti Mandhana

Mandhana in action against Ireland at the World T20

The 22-year-old left-hander hit her third ODI ton in February against South Africa – a career-best 135 at better than a run-a-ball – but her match-winning innings of 86 against England in April was the better knock. On a Nagpur pitch offering vicious turn and variable bounce, on which no other batted reached 50, Mandhana showed off her smarts and technique, hitting a sixth half-century in seven innings in a match which India eventually won by one wicket.

A scintillating 55-ball 83 in the World T20 victory over Australia in Guyana was another notable addition to the Indian vice-captain’s rapidly growing CV.

2. TAMMY BEAUMONT, ENGLAND

1 Test, 107 runs at 53.50, 1 fifty | 12 ODIs, 558 runs at 50.72, 2 hundreds, 3 fifties, strike rate 73 | 18 T20Is, 444 runs at 26.11, 1 hundred, 2 fifties, strike rate 121

Beaumont misfired at the World T20 but had enough credit in the bank to hold off the challenge of South Africa’s Lizelle Lee for an opening berth.

The diminutive right-hander hit three centuries in the space of nine days in June – all against South Africa and each more authoritative than the last. After scores of 101 and 105 in the ODI series, Beaumont played her most brutal innings yet for England, hitting her maiden T20I century in a world-record total of 250-3, smashing the 216-1 set by New Zealand only a few hours previously.

Beaumont brought up her hundred in 47 deliveries – the second fastest in women’s T20I history – and was finally dismissed for 116, just 10 runs shy of Meg Lanning’s all-time record.

3. SOPHIE DEVINE, NEW ZEALAND

10 ODIs, 700 runs at 87.50, 4 hundreds, 3 fifties, strike rate 107; 6 wickets at 33, economy rate 5.23 | 20 T20Is, 631 runs at 33.21, 5 fifties, strike rate 148; 19 wickets at 19.84, economy rate 6.98

It’s been a tough year for New Zealand, culminating in their group-stage exit at the World T20, so it says a lot that Devine still makes our team. In an era of increased power-hitting, the 29-year-old still strikes the heftiest blows and she’s shown that to great effect over the last 12 months. She’s the leading ODI run-scorer during our qualification period and her impressive average is testament to the fact she combines consistency with her raw power.

Devine’s unbeaten 117 at Leicester, her third ODI ton of the calendar year, helped her team salvage some pride in the last match of a difficult tour of England. Chasing 220 on a tricky pitch, she was initially happy to dig in before opening her shoulders as the innings progressed, smashing Katherine Brunt for six over long-leg to bring up the winning runs.

4. SUZIE BATES, NEW ZEALAND

11 ODIs, 511 runs at 56.77, 2 hundreds, 1 fifty, strike rate 97; 1 wicket at 87, economy rate 4.83 | 21 T20Is, 793 runs at 49.56, 1 hundred, 7 fifties, strike rate 132; 2 wickets at 72, economy rate 6.85

Despite her team’s travails, Bates has maintained her unrivalled dominance of T20 cricket, with 130 runs more than her nearest competitor during our qualification period, including 670 in 2018 alone – a new record for a calendar year.

Suzie Bates

Bates had a stellar year in the shortest format

Her 124 not out at Taunton in the first match of the tri-series was breathtaking, as New Zealand raced to a then-record total of 216-1. Bates set the pace early on, reaching fifty from 34 balls and sharing a record first-wicket stand of 182 with Devine.

Surprisingly, it was Bates’ first century in T20Is and the innings took her past Charlotte Edwards as the format’s all-time leading run-scorer.

5. HARMANPREET KAUR, INDIA

12 ODIs, 195 runs at 21.66, 1 fifty, strike rate 61; 3 wickets at 59.33, economy rate 6.20 | 25 T20Is, 663 runs at 41.43, 1 hundred, 2 fifties, strike rate 126; 10 wickets at 16.50, economy rate 6.60

For the second year in succession Harmanpreet played the standout innings at a world tournament, blitzing New Zealand’s attack on the way to her maiden T20I hundred.

“I know if I settle down, I can go for my shots,” said India’s captain after her 51-ball knock of 103 (seven fours, eight sixes). After scoring five runs from her first 12 deliveries she reached her century in 49 balls, enhancing her reputation as one of the most watchable cricketers on the planet.

6. ALYSSA HEALY (wk), AUSTRALIA

1 Test, 45 runs at 45; 1 catch | 9 ODIs, 474 runs at 52.66, 1 hundred, 3 fifties, strike rate 107; 11 catches, 3 stumpings | 20 T20Is, 626 runs at 36.82, 6 fifties, strike rate 141; 13 catches, 14 stumpings

A mainstay of the Australian side for the best part of a decade, Healy had been a player who chipped in with useful contributions rather than grabbing games by the scruff of the neck. In the past 12 months, that’s all changed.

Alyssa Healy

Healy was in irrepressible form at the World T20

Having hit two half-centuries in her first 52 ODIs, averaging just 16 in that time, Healy is averaging 53 since the start of the 2017 Ashes, with three fifties and a hundred in nine innings. Throw in a stellar World T20, where she was named Player of the Tournament, and she stakes a strong claim to be the cross-format MVP of the past year.

7. DEANDRA DOTTIN, WEST INDIES

6 ODIs, 114 runs at 22.80, 1 fifty, strike rate 99; 12 wickets at 16.83, economy rate 4.34 | 14 T20Is, 363 runs at 27.92, 1 hundred, strike rate 128; 16 wickets at 16.31, 1 five-wicket haul, economy rate 6.86

Dottin finished level on votes with New Zealand off-spinner Leigh Kasperek but earns her spot to better balance our side.

West Indies’ World T20 campaign may have ended in tears after the semi-final defeat to Australia but were it not for the all-rounder’s sensational display with the ball in their opening fixture against Bangladesh, it could have been much worse.

The hosts had put just 106 on the board and Bangladesh looked to be on the verge of an upset. But Dottin put paid to that. The  Bajan tore out Bangladesh’s middle order to return the extraordinary figures of 3.4-0-5-5 – the third-best in women’s T20Is and Dottin’s first five-for in the format.

It was the start of a memorable tournament for Dottin, who received her second Player of the Match award (2-21 and 46) in a thriller against England, the Windies taking down the eventual runners-up in front of an all-singing, all-dancing St Lucian crowd.

8. ELLYSE PERRY, AUSTRALIA

1 Test, 213 runs at N/A, 1 hundred; 3 wickets at 28.33 | 9 ODIs, 278 runs at 39.71, 2 fifties, strike rate 69; 9 wickets at 35.66, economy rate 4.65 | 20 T20Is, 154 runs at 30.80, strike rate 116; 23 wickets at 17.65, economy rate 6.88

Perry has once again had to reinvent herself this year. Relegated to bat at No.7 in Australia’s short format side, it was with the ball that she made most impact at the World T20, taking 2-2 against West Indies in the semi-final.

Twelve months ago, though, it was all about Perry the batsman as she  produced the innings of her career in the Ashes Test. A mammoth effort lasting for almost eight hours across two days, it was her first three-figure score for her country, eventually finishing with the highest individual score by an Australian in women’s Tests. The moment she brought up her double-century was especially memorable, launching Sophie Ecclestone for a six over cow corner.

Ellyse Perry

Perry produced a record-breaking innings in the Ashes Test

“Pez has always been, and still is, the ultimate professional in terms of work ethic, training and her analysis of the game,” says WCM columnist Mel Jones. “But what I think she’s found in the last 12 months is a more relaxed sense of belonging in the team, and she’s engaged a lot with the younger players and been a real leader. A lot of players could have really struggled with changing roles but I think she’s actually embraced it.”

9. SANA MIR, PAKISTAN

10 ODIs, 26 wickets at 12.53, economy rate 3.63; 188 runs at 26.85, strike rate 56 | 22 T20Is, 15 wickets at 32.40, economy rate 6.23; 130 runs at 16.25, strike rate 67

After a public spat with former national coach Sabih Azhar, who described Mir as “self-centred and egotistical” in a leaked report following the team’s dismal 2017 World Cup campaign, the experienced off-spinner has flourished under the New Zealander, Mark Coles. “She’s just one of those players that has the x-factor,” says Coles.

Mir was the leading ODI wicket-taker during our qualification period and moved to the top of the bowling rankings in October after excelling in a three-match series against Australia, despite Pakistan being comprehensively beaten.

The 32-year-old used her elevation to the top of the ODI rankings to make a wider point about women’s sport in her country. “This should end the debate about whether girls should play sport or not,” she said. “If I can achieve this No.1 ranking, any girl in Pakistan who puts the hard work in can do the same.”

10. POONAM YADAV, INDIA

12 ODIs, 20 wickets at 22.70, economy rate 4.33 | 25 T20Is, 35 wickets at 14.91, economy rate 5.80

She might be a little under five feet tall but Poonam has made a big impression this year. No other bowler has been as prolific as the Indian leg-spinner: across 2018 she tops both the ODI and T20I wicket-taking charts.

Poonam Yadav

Poonam Yadav: the most prolific bowler of 2018

The 27-year-old’s four-wicket display in a nail-biting contest against England particularly stands out. With the world champions cruising at 71-0, it was Poonam who changed the course of the game, taking the wickets of Danni Wyatt and Amy Jones in the 12th over and then dismissing Beaumont caught-and-bowled three overs later. Later, with India in trouble at 190-9 still needing 18 runs for victory, Poonam kept a cool head to finish 7 not out and help her side to a one-wicket win with five balls to spare.

She continued to impress at the World T20, revelling in the spin-friendly conditions of the Caribbean to take eight wickets at 14.

11. MEGAN SCHUTT, AUSTRALIA

1 Test, 2 wickets at 40 | 8 ODIs, 19 wickets at 14.26, economy rate 3.71 | 20 T20Is, 34 wickets at 11.79, economy rate 5.48

Schutt was a key factor behind Australia’s World T20 success, finishing as the tournament’s joint highest wicket-taker to cap a year in which she has cemented her reputation as the leading seamer in the world. It was a continuation of her form during the 2017 Ashes, when she took 16 wickets across the six white-ball fixtures.

A prodigious swinger of the ball with a deceptive slower delivery, Schutt was irresistible under lights in the second ODI at Coffs Harbour, trapping both openers lbw in her opening spell and returning at a crucial juncture to dismiss Fran Wilson and Katherine Brunt when England threatened to chase down their target.

The 25-year-old claimed another four-wicket haul at the same venue three days later before taking four more in the first T20I at the North Sydney Oval in a victory which ensured her team retained the Ashes.

Who did we miss? Let us know on Twitter @WisdenCricket or email editorial@wisden.com

To read Wisden Cricket Monthly‘s teams of the year in full, pick up a copy of the January 2019 issue

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