There were some splendid batting performances in the robin round of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2018. Here are the five most dominant, powerful and important knocks of the lot.
5. Alyssa Healy, 56* v Ireland
Healy has been Australia's star, the batter of the tournament, with scores of 48, 56* and 53 in her three outings – all of which Australia won – so far. The one against Ireland was particularly special, with Healy bringing up her half-century off just 21 balls.
The target wasn't a big one – only 94 – but Ireland would have hoped to make it tough for Australia. Not a chance, not when Healy was in the sort of mood she was in, hitting the second-fastest 50 in all women's T20Is behind Sophie Devine's effort off 18 balls back in 2005 against India [Devine would hit a 21-ball half-century later in the tournament, also against Ireland]. Healy slowed down after the half-century, scoring 56* in 31 balls, but had done enough with her nine fours and a solitary six for Australia to cross the target in just 9.1 overs.
4. Suzie Bates, 67 v India
White Ferns will be a tad disappointed with their early exit from the tournament, but their most reliable customer did not disappoint. Bates, the top-ranked player on the MRF Tyres ICC Women's Rankings for batting, remains second on the list of the highest run-scorers in the competition.
Her best effort came in the tournament opener, where she tallied 67 runs at the top of the order with a strike rate of 134 against India, giving the White Ferns a flicker of hope facing an imposing target. The innings, her 20th half-century in T20Is, reasserted her position as one of the finest limited-overs batters in world cricket today.
3. Hayley Matthews, 62 v Sri Lanka
The highest individual score in Group A came from the willow of the Windies vice-captain, whose 36-ball 62 against Sri Lanka drove the hosts and defending champions to the semi-finals of the tournament.
The right-hander stitched a 94-run opening stand with Deandra Dottin, going all guns blazing from the very beginning of the innings. The 20-year-old also returned figures of 3/16 with the ball, thus dishing out an all-round performance to savour at Gros Islet.
2. Smriti Mandhana, 83 v Australia
While Kaur hit the ground running, her deputy took her time to get going in the tournament. However, when Smriti Mandhana did show up to the party, she took the wind out of Australia's revered bowling attack's sails. The opener smashed a 55-ball 83, smacking nine boundaries and three sixes in the process.
Her vital knock inspired India to victory against the three-time WT20 champions and the No.1 team on the MRF Tyres ICC Women's T20I Rankings. The swashbuckling effort, Mandhana's career-best T20I score, was crucial in the context of the tournament, as it helped India finish above Australia, at the summit of Group B, and laid down a marker that India were the team to beat.
1. Harmanpreet Kaur, 103 v New Zealand
The Indian skipper helped light up the tournament opener with her blitz against New Zealand, smashing 103 runs in just 51 deliveries. The scintillating innings, her maiden three-figure score in T20 international cricket, propelled India to a colossal total of 194/5.
The 29-year-old smoked seven boundaries and eight sixes in the knock, deflating the spirits of the White Ferns with her explosive batting. The right-hander came into the middle when her team was in a spot of bother at 40/3 after 5.4 overs, and after consolidating, exploded.
She scrapped her way to 28 off 26 before tripling her strike-rate, plundering 75 runs off her final 25 balls. Her 134 run-stand for the fourth wicket with the exciting Jemimah Rodrigues turned the momentum of the game in India's favour.
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