England v India – Women’s Test day 4 by the numbers

Only Test โ€“ England v India
County Ground, Bristol, 19 June 2021
India 231 and 344/8 (f/o) drew with England 396/9d
scorecard | video highlights

Day 1 by the numbers | Day 2 by the numbers | Day 3 by the numbers

3 – India were the third women’s Test side to bat out a draw after being asked to follow on.

90 – The Bristol Test was the 90th women’s Test match to finish as a draw. 64% of women’s Tests overall have ended as draws, including eleven out of fourteen meetings between England and India (79%).

2005 – England women’s search for a home Test win continues. Their last victory in the format on home soil, was in regaining the Ashes, at Worcester on 27 Aug 2005. The only current England player to have played in a Test win at home is Katherine Brunt.

344/8 – India made the third highest 2nd innings team total in a women’s Test, and the second highest total by a side that had been asked to follow on.

159 – Player of the match, Shafali Verma finsihed with the third highest match runs aggregate by a woman on Test debut:

  • 204 Michelle Goszko (AUS) v ENG, Shenley, 2001
  • 189 Lesley Cooke (ENG) v IND, Wetherby, 1986
  • 159 Shafali Verma (IND) v ENG, Bristol, 2021
  • 153 Jess Jonassen (AUS) v ENG, Canterbury, 2015
  • 150 Enid Bakewell (ENG) v AUS, Adelaide, 1968

6 – Verma’s final scoring shot in the match saw her become the first woman to hit three sixes in a match. Remarkably, this also means that after just one match in the format, Verma also has the most recorded career sixes in women’s Test cricket. The six sixes in total during the match (Verma 3, Winfield-Hill 2, Shrubsole 1) were also the most ever seen in a women’s Test overall.

5 – Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana brought the total of half-centuries made by players on debut to five for the match. This is the most 50+ scores ever made by debutants in the same women’s Test.

104* – Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia’s match-saving partnership was the second highest 9th wicket stand in women’s Test cricket. This is the third time that India women have recorded two century partnerhsips in the same Test. After Sophia Dunkely and Anya Shrubsole’s 70 run partnerhsip in the 1st innings, this match now accounts for two of the five highest 9th wicket partnerhsips in women’s Test history.

9 – The nine partnerships of fifty or more runs during the match (England 5×50, India 2×100, 2×50) were the joint most 50+ stands in a women’s Test. The last women’s Test before this match (the Ashes Test at Taunton in 2019) also equalled this record.

80* & 4-131 – Sneh Rana became the fourth woman ever to achieve the match double of taking four wickets in an innings and scoring a half-century on test debut. Rana was the first Indian to achieve this all-round feat in men’s or women’s Test cricket.

Rana’s 80* was the highest Test score by an Indian woman batting at #8 or lower, and the sixth highest score by any woman batting at #8-11 in Test cricket.

8 – Sophie Ecclestone was the first England women’s spinner to take 8 wickets in a Test since Enid Bakewell against West indies at Edgbaston in 1979. Ecclestone’s figures were the fourth best match figures by an English spinner in a women’s Test:

  • 10-75 Enid Bakewell v WI, Edgbaston, 1979
  • 9-58 Mary Duggan v AUS, Junction Oval, 1958
  • 8-124 Enid Bakewell v NZ, Hagley Oval, 1969
  • 8-206 Sophie Ecclestone v IND, Bristol, 2021

With 4-88 and 4-118, Ecclestone became the first English spinner to take 4-fer in both innings of a women’s Test.

64 – Ecclestone’s overs across consecutive innings were the most bowled for England, and the joint third most for any side, in a contiguous team bowling sequence in women’s Test cricket i.e. either in a single innings, or 2nd and 3rd innings combined when enforcing the follow on:

  • 71.0 Shaiza Khan (PAK) 2nd & 3rd innings v WI, Karachi, 2004
  • 67.5 Lyn Fullston (AUS) 1st innings v IND, Mumbai, 1984
  • 64.0 Jill Saulbery (NZ) 3rd innings v SA, Johannesburg, 1972
  • 64.0 Neetu David (IND) 2nd & 3rd innings v SA, Paarl, 2002
  • 64.0 Sophie Ecclestone (ENG) 2nd & 3rd innings v IND, Bristol 2021

Ecclestone’s mammoth spell saw her concede both the most runs in a match (202) and an innings (118) for england women in Test cricket.

3.00 – The overall match run-rate was the 4th highest for a women’s Test match.

18 – The Bristol Test, played on a used pitch, saw 18 wickets fall to spinners, at an average of 26.89, compared with 9 wickets for pace bowlers, at an average of 51.89.

The previous women’s Test match, at Taunton in 2019, was also played on a used surface, and saw similarly disparate returns for pace and spin bowling. Across the two matches, the strike rate for pace bowling (124.2 balls per wicket) has been more than double that of spin (61.7).

This doesn’t however, mean that the pitches have been enormously spin friendly, just that they have offered very little at all for pace bowling. The average for spin has still been higher than the overall bowling average in the format (26.43 all time, and 27.86 since 2010), and the strike rate equates to more than 100 overs required for 10 wicket to fall.

Match bowlingEngland v Australia
Taunton 2019
England v India
Bristol 2021
Pace wickets4913
Pace average78.5051.8960.08
Pace economy rate2.922.892.90
Pace strike rate161.5107.6124.2
Spin wickets191837
Spin average30.7426.8928.86
Spin economy rate2.682.982.81
Spin strike rate68.954.161.7

Stats derived from ESPNcricinfo statsguru and womenscricket.net.

England v India – Women’s Test day 3 by the numbers

Only Test โ€“ England v India
County Ground, Bristol, 18 June 2021
Stumps day 3 โ€“ India (fo) 83/1 and 231 trail England 396/9d by 82 runs
scorecard | video highlights

Day 1 by the numbers | Day 2 by the numbers | Day 4 by the numbers

64 – India collapsed from 167/0 to 231 all out. 10/64 is the second biggest collapse for India women in Test cricket, beaten only by their 10/37 in crumbling from 28/0 to 65 all out, against West Indies at Jammu in 1976.

10 – This was the first time in seven innings that England women had bowled out the opposition in a Test match. The last tme, England ahd taken all ten wickets was the 1st inings of their previous match against India, ar Wormsley in 2014.

72 – Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana’s 167 opening stand accounted for 72% of India’s total, the second highest percentage for a single partnerhship in a women’s Test innings (stat credit @SoorajAyyappan_).

9 – The follow on was enforced for the ninth time in women’s Test history. The only previous time England women had enforced the follow on, was during the 2nd Test against South Africa at Johannesburg in Dec 1960. Six of the eight previous sides to have done so have gone on to win the match, with the other two Tests ending as draws.

2 – Shafali Verma’s dream start to her Test career continued, as she became the fourth woman to make two scores of 50+ runs on Test debut:

  • Lesley Cooke (ENG) v IND, 1986
  • Vanessa Bowen (SL) v PAK, 1998
  • Jess Jonassen (AUS) v ENG, 2015
  • Shafali Verma (IND) v ENG, 2021

Verma is also one of just two players in Test history to have made two 50+ scores in the same match at the age of 17. The other is Sachin Tendulkar.

63 – Verma’s second fifty, which came off 63 balls, was among the fastest recorded in women’s Test cricket.

Fastest known women’s Test fifties
(where stats are available)

50* (42) Sangita Dabir (IND) v ENG, 1995, no specific BF listed for reaching fifty
57 Maia Lewis (NZ) v ENG, 1996
61 Charlotte Edwards (ENG) v AUS, 2014
61 Alyssa Healy (AUS) v ENG, 2019
63 Jess Jonassen (AUS) v ENG, 2015
63 Shafali Verma (IND) v ENG, 2021
61 (67) Cri-zelda Brits (SA) v ENG, 200 , no specific BF listed for reaching fifty

151 – Verma’s match runs aggregate is currently the fifth highest for India in a women’s Test.

4 – Sophie Ecclestone (4-88) was the first England women’s spinner to take 4 wickets in a Test innings, since Laura Harper took 5-66 v India at Delhi in Nov 2005. The last English spinner to do so at home, was Clare Connor, with 4-68 in the Ashes Test at Hove in Aug 2005.

35 – Katherine Brunt (35 years 351 days) became the first bowler aged 35+ to take a Test wicket for England women since Clare Taylor, who took three wickets at the age of 38 against South Africa at Taunton in 2003.

Ony Molly Hide has taken Test wickets for England women over a greater timespan than Brunt:

19y 208d Molly Hide (1934-1954)
16y 301d Katherine Brunt (2004-2021)
16y 215d Myrtle Maclagan (1934-1951)

3.12 – Heading into an intriguing final day, the Bristol Test currently has the highest match run-rate of any women’s Test match.

Stats derived from ESPNcricinfo statsguru.

England v India – Women’s Test day 2 by the numbers

Only Test โ€“ England v India
County Ground, Bristol, 17 June 2021
Stumps day 2 – India 187/5 trail England 396/6d by 209 runs
scorecard | video highlights

Day 1 by the numbers | Day 3 by the numbers | Day 4 by the numbers

396 – England’s total was their highest against India, and their sixth highest in any Test. This was the second highest women’s Test totla not to feature a century. The team effort in reaching the total was exemplified in this being the third time in the history of women’s Test cricket, that six different players scored 35 or more runs in the same innings.

74* – Sophia Dunkley became the tenth English woman to make a half-century on Test debut. Her eventual score of 74* was the third highest debut score for England, and the second highest score ever by an English woman batting at #6.

47 – Anya Shrubsole’s innings was the third highest score at #10 in Test cricket for England women. Shrubsole’s strike rate of 142.42 was the highest recorded for a women’s Test score of 25 or more runs.

70 – Dunkley and Shrubsole’s partnership was England women’s second highest 9th wicket stand in Test cricket, and the highest 9th wicket partnership by any women’s Test side against India.

5 – England’s five parternships of fifty or more runs were the most they had contributed in the same inings, equalled the record for all women’s Test innings.

4 – Sneh Rana (4-131) was the fifth Indian woman to take four or more wickets in an innings on Test debut.

96 – The landmarks for debutants continued, with Shafali Verma’s scintillating innings. Verma’s score was the highest by an Indian woman on Test debut, and the highest ever women’s Test score by a player aged under 18.

2 – This is the second time in women’s Test cricket, that debutants on oppposing sides have both brought up half-centuries in their maiden Test innings on the same day. The only previous instance was also an England v India Test, when Minoti Desai and Lesley Cooke both reached fifty on day two of 1st Test at Wetherby, on 27th June 1986.

6 – During her innings, Verma hit two sixes, equalling the record Alyssa Healy (at North Syndey in 2017) and Lauren WInfield-Hill (at Bristol yesterday) for most sixes in a women’s Test match. With Shrubsole also clearing the boundary, the total for the match stands at five in two days. There had never been more than three sixes in total in a women’s Test before this game, which is just the second women’s Test to feature sixes from both sides.

167 – Verma’s partenrhsip with Smriti Mandhana was India women’s highest openg stand in Test cricket, beting Gargi Banerji and Sandhya Agarwal’s 153 against Australia at Mumbai in 1984.

Stats derived from ESPNcricinfo statsguru.

England v India – Women’s Test day 1 by the numbers

Only Test – England v India
County Ground, Bristol, 16 June 2021
Stumps day 1 – England 1st innings 269/6 (92.0)
scorecard | video highlights

1 – Sophia Dunkley made history, as the first Black woman to represent England in Test cricket.

1889 – The Bristol County Ground, established in 1889, hosted a Test match for the first time.

21 – Mithali Raj has now played the second longest career in women’s international cricket:

  • 26y 361d Caroline de Fouw NED (1991-2018)
  • 21y 355d Mithali Raj IND (1999-2021)
  • 21y 332d Debbie Hockley NZ (1979-2000)

Raj and Jhulan Goswami, who both made their Test debuts in the same match, against England at Lucknow in 2002, also jointly became India women’s longest serving Test players (19y 153d). They surpassed Diana Edulji and Sudha Shah, who both played for 14y 104d from 1976-1991.

16 – Katherine Brunt also set her own records for longevity, becoming England women’s fifth longest serving international player. Overtaking Clare Taylor, means no specialist pace bowler has had a longer career for England women:

  • 21y 67d Rachael Heyhoe Flint, 1960-82
  • 19y 262d Charlotte Edwards, 1996-2016
  • 19y 211d Molly Hide, 1934-1954
  • 16y 299d Katherine Brunt, 2004-2021
  • 16y 268d Clare Taylor, 1988-2005

2 – Lauren Winfield-Hill’s two sixes were the joint most hit in a women’s Test innings. Alyssa Healy had previously hit two against England at North Sydney Oval in 2017. Winfield-Hill was the first English woman to hit a six in any Test, since Laura Macleod cleared the boundary against India at Grace Road in 2006.

69 – Winfield-Hill and Tammy Beaumont shared a 69 partnerhsip for the first wicket. This was the first time England women had batted 1st and put on a 50+ openng stand since the 1st Test against Australia at The Gabba in Feb 2003. The last time England had done so in a home Test, was the 1st Ashes Test at Guildford in Aug 1998.

3 – The last time England women made fifty run partnerships for the first three wickets in the same Test innings, was the 3rd Test against South Africa at Durban in 1960. This is only the fifth time the feat has been achieved by any side in women’s Tests:

  • England v New Zealand, Christchurch, 1935
  • England v South Africa, Durban, 1960
  • India v England, Blackpool, 1986
  • New Zealand v India, Nelson, 1995
  • England v India, Bristol, today

90 – Heather Knight and Natalie Sciver’s partnership was England women’s third highest 3rd wicket stand against India in Test cricket.

100 – Knight was making her hundredth appearance as England captain. Charlotte Edwards (220) is the only other woman to have led England 100 times in international cricket.

95 – Knight’s innings was the highest Test score by an England women’s captain since Edwards scored 114* against Australia at Bankstown in 2011. That match also saw Knight make her Test debut. Knight and Edwards (who made 94 at Bowral in 2008) now share the mantle of being the only England women’s captains to be dismissed in the 90s in Test cricket.

6 – All six of India’s wickets on day one were taken by debutants – Sneh Rana (3-77), Deepti Sharma (2-50), Pooja Vastrakar (1-43). The three catches in the innings so far were also taken by players on debut – Sharma, Shafali Verma and Taniya Bhatia.

269/6 – England’s total at stumps was their highest on the opening day of a Test since they scored 280/7 against India in the 2nd Test at Taunton in 2002.

Day 2 by the numbers | Day 3 by the numbers | Day 4 by the numbers

Stats derived from ESPNcricinfo statsguru.

Dunkley’s continued form strengthens case for ODI debut

Sunday’s meeting between England Academy and South East Stars at Beckenham, saw one of the brightest prospects in English women’s cricket lay down another marker ahead of a packed international summer.

In a successful chase of 276 in 45 overs, South East Stars’ Sophia Dunkley top scored with 102*, one of several eye-catching performances from the 22 year-old in the last few seasons. Dunkley’s progress has the potential to stave off a concern about England’s batting line-up, which has changed very little in the past five years.

England’s regular batters in ODI cricket since the retirements of Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway in 2016, are all broadly the same age (Heather Knight, Tammy Beaumont, Natalie Sciver, Danni Wyatt, Amy Jones, Fran Wilson and Lauren Winfield-Hill were all born between 1990-93). While none of them are likely to be retiring just yet, there is the possibility that in a few years’ time, several careers will come to an end in quick succession. As yet, no younger players have established themselves at international level, so a mass exodus of experienced talent could lead to an absence of proven players in the England batting order.

With succession planning in mind, Dunkley is undoubtedly one of the leading contenders in this regard. In 2019, during the final season of the Women’s County Championship, Dunkley finished as the competition’s leading run scorer (451), making two centuries and three fifties in six innings for Middlesex.

The bio-secure procedures in place for COVID-19, meant Dunkley’s chances to play 50-over cricket were limited last summer. As with other players called up by England, Dunkley only featured in the first two rounds of the inaugural Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. Dunkley was still able to make an impact in the second of those two innings, scoring 97 for South East Stars against Sunrisers. Playing various intra-squad matches in the England bubble in the sumer of 2020, Dunkley impressed, both in terms of weight of runs and the rate at which they were scored.

Among players to have scored 200+ runs in English women’s domestic List A cricket since the start of 2019, Dunkley has the third highest strike rate (91.40), behind Rachel Priest (92.46) and England captain Heather Knight (98.42).

While she is a more than capable boundary-hitter, Dunkley’s running stats may particularly appeal to an England side that has prided itself on fitness in recent times. Among the above-mentioned group of batters in domestic cricket, Knight is the only player with a comparable non-boundary strike rate to Dunkley. This ability to regularly rotate the strike, allied to above average boundary hitting, means both Knight and Dunkley always have scoring options and rarely get bogged down.

Highest non-boundary strike rate in English domestic List A cricket since the start of 2019
(runs scored off non-boundary balls)

SIR Dunkley55313892.1791.4058.3224
HC Knight561159*140.2598.4258.1323
SN Luff589104*53.5575.6148.4715
TT Beaumont2968742.2973.8247.8503
AD Carr28910524.0875.6546.4411
CE Dean32260*29.2766.8044.6902
FC Wilson2978349.5079.4144.6703
AE Jones340101*48.5785.6444.4412
D Hannema2508762.5078.1343.6003
minimum 200 runs scored

Though Dunkley has often been called up to England squads, she is yet to be given a chance in the 50-over format at international level. Her fifteen T20I caps since 2018 have so far have provided scant opportunity to prove herself with the bat. Dunkley has batted in just seven of those matches, and has generally come in with very few balls remaining.

As well as regional T20 and 50 over domestic competitions this summer, the launch of The Hundred is a chance for English women’s cricketers to prove themselves playing both with and against the world’s best. If she can maintain her strong start to the season through these comptetions, it seems highly likely Dunkley will be given a much-anticipated opportunity in ODIs this summer.

An ODI debut for Dunkley, or any other new English batting prospect, could potentially bring an end to an extraordinary sequence, that has resulted from the similarlity in ages and regularity of selection among England’s batters in the format.

Remarkably, the last woman to bat in the top six for England on ODI debut, was Fran Wilson, in November 2010. By contrast, every other current women’s ODI nation has given at least one debutant a chance to bat in the top six since the start of 2016. England’s sequence of 101 matches without a debutant featuring at #1-6 in an ODI, is over twice as long as the next team (Australia’s 49).

Last time a player batted in the top six on ODI debut for each nation

TeamPlayerOppositionDateODIs since
SATazmin Britsv PAK26/01/20215
PAKKaynat Hafeezv ENG14/12/20193
INDPriya Puniav SA09/10/201910
SLUmesha Thimashiniv SA11/02/20198
NZJess Watkinv IRE08/06/201823
BANMurshida Khatunv SA04/05/20187
WIReniece Boycev SA02/07/201725
IRERebecca Stokellv NZ11/05/20175
AUSBeth Mooneyv NZ20/02/201649
NED*Kerry-Anne Tomlinsonv SL15/11/20113
ENGFran Wilsonv SL15/11/2010101
*Netherlands no longer have ODI status. Their last match in the format was on 24 Nov 2011.

With the 2022 World Cup on their mind (the tournament gets underway in February 2022), England’s schedule for the 2021 season includes eight ODIs (three against India and five vs New Zealand), the second most they will have played in a non-World Cup home summer. These matches are not part of the ICC Women’s Championship, so are a perfect opportunity for England to evaluate their depth and test new players in the lead up to the World Cup.

Beyond her own career development, Dunkley’s selection would also have a wider significance for the English women’s game, which has notably lacked diversity throughout its history, at both domestic and international level. If she makes her ODI debut, Dunkley will be the second black woman to represent England in the format. The first was Ebony Rainford-Brent, whose last ODI was on 1st March 2010. With Tests against India and Australia on the schedule in the coming months, Dunkley could also become the first black woman to play for England in the longest format.

Women’s County T20 live blog – 3rd May 2021

Women’s County T20 Results – 3rd May 2021
For live blog, select page 2
Links to tables in group titles

North Group

Cumbria v Northern Representative XI
match 1 – abandoned
match 2 – abandoned

Lancashire v Scotland A
match 1 – abandoned
match 2 – abandoned

Yorkshire v North East Warriors
match 1 – Yorkshire 124/1 (11.0), no result
match 2 – abandoned

East Midlands Group

Derbyshire v Leicestershire
match 1 – Leicestershire 26/0 (4.0), no result
match 2 – abandoned

Lincolnshire v Nottinghamshire
match 1 – Lincolnshire 105/7 (20.0), no result
match 2 – abandoned

Shropshire v Northamptonshire
match 1 – abandoned
match 2 – abandoned

West Midlands Group

Somerset v Wales
match 1 – Wales 106/3 (17.1) beat Somerset 104/7 (20.0) by 7 wickets
match 2 – Somerset 115/3 (17.0) beat Wales 114/9 (20.0) by 7 wickets

Warwickshire v Berkshire
match 1 – abandoned
match 2 – abandoned

Worcestershire v Staffordshire
match 1 – Staffordshire 73/4 (12.0), no result
match 2 – abandoned

East Group

Huntingdonshire v Hertfordshire
match 1 – Herfordshire 37/0 (4.1) beat Huntingdonshire 36 (19.5) by 10 wickets
match 2 – Hertfordshire 83/1 (10.1), no result

Suffolk v Cambridgeshire
match 1 – Suffolk 137/2 (20.0) beat Cambridgeshire 106/3 (20.0) by 31 runs
match 2 – Suffolk 150/3 (18.5) beat Cambridgeshire 149/5 (20.0) by 7 wickets

Buckinghamshire v Norfolk
match 1 – Buckinghamshire 109/6 (20.0) beat Norfolk 76 (20.0) by 33 runs
match 2 – Buckinghamshire 74/0 (10.1) beat Norfolk 73 (17.0) by 10 wickets

South East Group

Essex v Surrey
match 1 – Surrey 131/5 (20.0) beat Essex 116/6 (20.0) by 15 runs
match 2 – Surrey 117/6 (18.1) beat Essex 116/4 (20.0) by 4 wickets

Kent v Middlesex
match 1 – Kent 150/3 (20.0) beat Middlesex 130/7 (20.0) by 19 runs
match 2 – Kent 135/3 (19.4) beat Middlesex 131 (19.3) by 7 wickets

Sussex v Hampshire
match 1 – Hampshire 114/8 (20.0) beat Sussex 67 (18.0) by 47 runs
match 2 – Hampshire 91/1 (14.5) beat Sussex 90/5 (20.0) by 9 wickets

South West Group

Gloucestershire v Oxfordshire
match 1 – abandoned
match 2 – abandoned

Wiltshire v Devon
match 1 – Devon 164/3 (20.0) beat Wiltshire 43/8 (20.0) by 121 runs
match 2 – Devon 50/0 (4.4) beat Wilsthire 46/7 (15.0) by 10 wickets

Cornwall v Dorset
match 1 – abandoned
match 2 – abandoned

Alternative Cricketers of the Year 2020

Selections are based primarily on influence on the 2020 English season, and are limited to those who haven’t previously been named as Wisden Cricketers of the Year.

Georgia Adams – Georgia Adams was the standout performer in the inaugural season of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. The revolutionary tournament was a key step on England’s path to professionalism in domestic women’s cricket. Adams, who was among the first wave of players to be awarded a regional retainer contract at the start of the summer, captained an unbeaten Southern Vipers side to the title and also finished as the competition’s highest run-scorer.

In a marked contrast to the Women’s County Championship, the majortiy of the RHF was played at men’s First Class venues, and Adams took full advantage of the opportunity to play on better surfaces. In her seven matches, Adams made one century and three fifties, with a lowest score of 37. Adams was involved in all five of the Vipers’ century partnerhsips and her 500 runs for the season were 105 more than the next best player in the tournament. Her previous best in a List A season was 345, made across ten innings of the County Championship and Super Threes in 2014.

In the final against Northern Diamonds, Adams top-scored with 80. Her landmark 154* against Western Storm at the Ageas Bowl, was the seventh highest score in the top-tier of English women’s domestic List A cricket, and the highest such score by a player without an international cap since 1992.

As well as her runs, Adams chipped in with seven wickets at an average of 22.00 and an economy rate of 4.08 rpo.

Sarah Bryce – Second to Adams in the RHF run-scoring charts, was Lightning’s Sarah Bryce (395). In a lineup that largely struggled with the bat, Bryce scored one century and four fifties in six innings, contributing more than twice as many runs as the next best Lightning player. Bryce featured in eight of her team’s ten 50+ partnerhsips throughout the season.

Bryce’s 136* against Central Sparks at Grace Road was the highest List A score ever made by a Scottish woman. Alongside sister and Lightning team-mate Kathryn (who took 14 wickets in the 2020 RHF), Bryce were also among the ECB’s first wave of players awarded regional retainer contracts. Their rise is testament to the good work being done by Scottish cricket, which has now produced four full-time players in the nascent professional era of women’s cricket (the others being Leigh Kasperek, who represents New Zealand, and Kirstie Gordon who has a central contract with England).

Deandra Dottin – International women’s cricket during England’s COVID summer was limited to a five-match T20I series against West Indies at Derby in September. While England came out comfortable 5-0 victors, one of the visitors still managed to shine. Deandra Dottin had suffered a serious shoulder injury in April 2019 which saw her sidelined for several months and unable to play at full fitness during the T20 World Cup.

By September though, Dottin had recaptured some of her past magic. Dottin finished as the highest run-scorer in the series, during which she also became the first woman to hit 100 career sixes in T20 international cricket. In a career which began in 2008, Dottin’s runs were the most she had ever scored in a T20I series or tournament for the West Indies, and this was the first time she had made two half-centuries in the same series.

Charlotte Taylor – Charlotte Taylor exemplified the new opportunities available as English women’s cricket embarked on its journey toward a professional domestic structure. An aerospace worker, whose ten year career in amateur cricket for Hampshire had seen her play in divisions four through one of the Women’s County Championship, Taylor took 6-34 live on Sky Sports at Edgbaston, as Southern Vipers lifted the first edition of the RHF Trophy.

Taylor’s player of the match performance against Northern Diamonds in the final were the best figures of the season. Despite not even featuring in the Vipers’ first two matches of the campaign, Taylor finished as the highest wicket-taker in the competition, with fifteen wickets at an average of 10.13 and an ER of 3.45 rpo.

Ebony Rainford-Brent – Ebony Rainford-Brent hasn’t played a top level cricket match since 2012, but no-one will have made a greater long-term impact on the English game in the past year than the former England and Surrey player.

In March 2020, Rainford-Brent spearheaded the launch of Surrey’s African Caribbean Engagement (ACE) Programme, with the aim of addressing a 75% decline in cricket participation by members of the Black community. After a successful trial in the local area, the project was expanded shortly after.

COVID-19 was not the only world event that would shape the 2020 season. The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police led to a wave of protest around the world. This period in the build up to the 1st men’s Test of the summer was marked by a renewed focus on the Black Lives Matter movement, and acts and structures of racism against the Black community. These included an examination by various media of aspects of racism in English cricket.

On the morning of the 1st Test, Sky Sports’ coverage featured Rainford-Brent and Michael Holding powerfully sharing their perspectives on the Black Lives Matter movement, and experiences of racism. The acclaimed segment was seen by a global audience of millions, and clips were widely shared worldwide. Sky Sports’ commitment to confronting the issue has been admirably sustained, and Rainford-Brent herself continues to use her platform to challenge institutions and stuctures in a sport which for too long has done little to come to terms with its shortcomings.

By October, after securing significant backing from Sport England, The ACE Programme had launched as an independent charity, with a wider national vision and Rainford-Brent as chair. The charity will aim to support grassroots and elite programmes, and the development of players and coaches in both the men’s and women’s game.

It is tribute to Rainford-Brent’s singular ideals and character that so much has been achieved in such a short space of time. However, the fact that one motivated person has been able to make such an impact, serves as an indictment of the game’s governing body in the years before. It should not have been reliant on the first black woman to play for England, to work her way into a position of influence, and then launch such a programme, before these issues were given their due focus and attention. The ACE Programme is inspirational, but also serves as a message to the ECB – that they could and should, have done more in the past, and that they must do (much) more from now on.

In a challenging year of unprecedented upheaval, Rainford-Brent’s vision and drive to make lasting change stood out. Cricket is in a much better place for her presence in the game.

New Zealand v Australia – 3rd women’s ODI by the numbers

3rd ODI – New Zealand v Australia
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganhui, 10 April 2021
Australia 149/7 (25.0) beat New Zealand 128/9 (25.0) by 21 runs
scorecard | video highlights

8 – Australia’s win completed an eighth consecuitve 3-0 bilateral ODI series whitewash.

24 – Australia women have now equalled their own world record for most consecutive unbeaten matches in ODI cricket. Their previous run was a sequence of 23 wins and one tie between 1978-1985.

2017 – The reduced overs match saw Beth Mooney promoted up the order, opening the batting in an ODI for the first time since the 2017 World Cup semi-final.

73 – Mooney’s opening stand wth Alyssa Healy was their first half-century partnership in an ODI. Though they are Australia’s most experienced pairing in T20Is, this was only the third time they had batted togther in an ODI.

46 – Healy is the first wicket-keeper to make scores of 40+ runs in every match of a three-match women’s ODI series on more than one occasion. Healy previously achieved the feat in the West Indies in 2019.

3 – Leigh Kasperek’s triple wicket maiden in the 12th over halted Australia’s progress. This is only the second time that Australia women have lost wickets 2-4 in an ODI without scoring a run. The previous instance also occurred in a Rose Bowl match, at Allan Border Field in June 2011.

9 – Despite only playing in the last two matches, Kasperek equalled the White Ferns record for most wickets taken in a three-match ODIs series. Rachel Pullar also took nine, against South Africa in 1999.

57.01 – In a chase that required a run-rate of precisely a run a ball, New Zealand’s top six batters scored a combined 65 runs off 114 balls, for a desultory strike rate of just 57.01.

29 – Megan Schutt has delivered the most maidens in women’s ODIs since the 2017 World Cup.

99 – Schutt now has 99 career wickets in ODIs. If she reaches triple figures in her next match, Schutt will be the second fastest woman ever to take 100 ODI wickets, beaten only by Australia legend Cathryn Fitzpatrick.

Stats derived from ESPNcricinfo statsguru.

New Zealand v Australia – 2nd women’s ODI by the numbers

2nd ODI – New Zealand v Australia
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, 7 April 2021
Australia 271/7 (50.0) beat New Zealand 200 (45.0) by 71 runs
scorecard | video highlights

19 – Once again, Australia retained the Rose Bowl trophy. Australia have won all nineteen editions of the series held since 2000, and 27 out of 31 series overall since its inception in 1985.

18 – As well as extending their world record match-winning streak to 23 consecutive ODIs, Australia have now won eigtheen consecutive bilateral ODI series, a run dating back to the Ashes in January 2014. Their last series defeat was during the 2013 Ashes, which is their only bilateral ODI series loss since the start of 2010 (in which time they’ve won 25 such series).

87 – Rachael Haynes has made six scores of fifty or more in her last eight ODI innings. Haynes is the fourth Australian woman to be dismissed for precisely 87 in an ODI. The number, which is seen by some in Australian cricket as unlucky (because it is 13 away from 100), has only produced four other dismissals from all other nations in women’s ODIs.

50 – Haynes has now shared five consecutive partnerships of 50+ runs with Meg Lanning in ODIs (they scored 98 in this match, to go with 126, 103, 65 and 117 in their four previous innings together). Haynes and Alyssa Healy, who put on 82 for the 1st wicket in this game, have made eight partnerships of fifty or more in their sixteen ODI innings together since the start of 2018.

6 – Leigh Kasperek became the first woman ever to take six wickets in an ODI against Australia:

  • 6-46 Leigh Kasperek (NZ), Mount Maunganui, 2021
  • 5-18 Katherine Brunt (ENG), Wormsley, 2011
  • 5-22 Karen Gunn (NZ), Lower Hutt, 1990

Kasperek’s figures were the fourth best for the White Ferns overall in ODIs, and the fourth best women’s ODI figures taken in New Zealand.

29.6 – Kasperek’s ODI career bowling strike rate is the third best among women to have taken fifty or more wickets.

42 – Jess Jonassen (9-1-29-3) has been Australia’s highest wicket-taker during their 23-match winning streak, and the highest wicket taker in women’s ODIs overall since the start of 2018.

69 – Amelia Kerr, who shared a 69 run 3rd wicket stand wth Hayley Jensen in this match, has been involved in six of the last seven 50+ run partnerships New Zealand women have made in all formats.

80 – New Zealand’s reliance on Kerr for stability was evident in their crumbling once she was dismissed. Starting from the loss of Kerr’s wicket, the White Ferns suffered a collapse of 7/80. In the 1st match of the series, Kerr’s wicket proved similarly crucial, with New Zealand losing 8/53 from the moment she departed.

15 – Megan Schutt and Alyssa Healy have combined for 15 wickets during their ODI careers, making them Australia women’s fourth most prolific bowler/fielder combination in the format:

  • 21 Price/Fitzpatrick
  • 18 Price/Rolton
  • 16 Fields/Sthalekar
  • 15 Healy/Schutt

Stats derived from ESPNcricinfo statsguru.