Early in 2018, Indian cricketing legend Mithali Raj spoke at the second annual ICC Women’s Cricket Forum and had a very important point to make. Expressing hope that women’s cricket in India can build on the momentum the team had created with their superb run to the World Cup final in 2017, Raj had said that these were good times for women’s cricket.
“There is no longer any ignorance about the women’s game, cricket talk is not limited to the men’s game or amongst men’s fans. The reach is now there, so the common man can see women’s cricket and we are breaking viewership records and it is important we continue that interest.”
That, perhaps, sums up the growth of the women’s game in the past 10 years. Increased broadcast, central contracts for the top players and good stadium attendances have seen women’s cricket take important strides with Australia, New Zealand, England and India leading the way in most aspects.
The lack of women’s Test cricket apart from the Ashes series between England and Australia at the present is one of the aspects that has been disappointing for followers of the game. The eight long-format games played in the 2010s is the least in the past five decades, according to ESPNCricinfo and only two of those (England vs India and India vs South Africa played in 2014) were not between the game’s traditional rivals.
But the game seems to be moving in a new direction, with clear focus on marketing the shorter formats and hugely successful 2017 ODI World Cup in England and the standalone World T20 in 2018 in the Caribbean were a culmination of those efforts.
In this review of the 2010s, we will look back at the leading performances in the white-ball formats of the women’s game:
When it comes to the ICC events, there is one team that simply dominated the standings: out of the seven world events, Australia won five titles and made it to six finals. The only event that they did not make it to the summit clash was in 2017, thanks to a generation-defining innings by Harmanpreet Kaur in 2017 which is the highest score of all time in any ODI World Cup knockout event. And their response? To reset their ambitions and bounce back with some vengeance at the first ever standalone World T20 in 2018. In the meantime, they have furthered strengthened the domestic structure of their game and leading the way for remuneration in the game.
England are expectedly the second-most successful side at the global stage while India captured the imagination of the country with their run to the final in 2017, the tournament Raj and Kaur have credited as a turning point for women’s cricket.
ICC events in this decade (ODIs)
|2013 World Cup||Australia||West Indies|
|2017 World Cup||England||India|
ICC events in this decade (T20Is)
|2010 World T20||Australia||New Zealand|
|2012 World T20||Australia||England|
|2014 World T20||Australia||England|
|2016 World T20||West Indies||Australia|
|2016 World T20 (Standalone event)||Australia||England|
England and Australia take the the top two spots (orders interchanged) for the overall win/loss ratio in the white-ball formats in 2010s. While India are significantly better in the 50-over format, T20I success still remains elusive on a significant scale. Even though Harmanpreet Kaur’s side made a superb run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World T20, the tournament was marred by the Mithali Raj-Ramesh Powar saga.
Best W/L ratio in ODIs this decade
Best W/L ratio in T20Is this decade
Batting stars of the decade
The names that you would expect to, dominate the batting charts in both formats. Mithali Raj is India’s best performer with the bat as she appears in all the tables below, signifying her strong influence over Indian cricket as she completed two decades in the game herself. Stafanie Taylor, the current Windies captain, leads the chart for run-scorers in ODIs while New Zealand star Suzie Bates features prominently across both formats.
Meg Lanning, too, has been a batter and captain par excellence for Australia and has been a big part of the team’s dominance. In T20Is, Kaur is making her way to the top and is surely on her way to be one of the best in the game as she showed with her sensational century against New Zealand in the curtain-raiser for World T20 2018. And her name is absent from the lists for the past decade, don’t be surprised if Smriti Mandhana emerges as the torch-bearer for Indian cricket (and the women’s game in general) in the years to come.
Top run-getters in ODIs this decade
|Mignon du Preez||105||2735||116*||30.05||2||10|
Most 50-plus scores in ODIs this decade
Top run-getters in T20Is this decade
Most 50-plus scores in T20Is this decade
Anisa Mohammed, the West Indies veteran, tops the chart for wicket-takers in both white-ball formats. While Jhulan Goswami has long been the flag-bearer for Indian bowling in ODIs, the emergence of Poonam Yadav (and her support cast of spinners) has been more prominent in the T20Is.
And finally, the only name to feature prominently on almost all of the tables here: Ellyse Perry. The Australian all-rounder, who became the first player (male or female) to score 1000 runs and take 100 wickets in T20Is, has emerged as the superstar of the game for this generation, breaking records for fun with both bat and ball. It can be argued that there is no single woman in the game right now who is as important to her side in all departments as Perry is for Australia.
Top wicket-takers in ODIs this decade
|Dane van Niekerk||89||117||5/17||19.96||33.6||6|
Top wicket-takers in T20Is this decade
(All statistics courtesy ESPNCricinfo Statsguru)