Nat Sciver-Brunt

Nominees for Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2023 revealed

Four cricketing stars produced top-notch performances in the women’s game, and have been nominated for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

Nominees for Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year 2023

Chamari Athapaththu (Sri Lanka)

885 runs and nine wickets in 24 matches

With her performances and leadership, Sri Lanka’s star cricketer Chamari Athapaththu enjoyed a sensational 2023. 

Athapaththu scored 470 runs in the T20I format and also picked up eight wickets. The opener helped lay a solid foundation at the top with her intent-driven batting. While Sri Lanka didn’t qualify for the knockout stage of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa, they impressed with wins over South Africa and Bangladesh. 

Athapaththu’s top score in the T20I format during 2023 was an unbeaten 80 against New Zealand at home which helped Sri Lanka to a 10-wicket win. However, her best performance came against England, where she was Player of the Series for her all-round run. This was Sri Lanka’s first-ever T20I series win against the country.

She also led Sri Lanka to a silver medal in the Asian Games.

Athapaththu showed great form in the ODIs as well, with her two centuries playing an instrumental role in the island nation’s series win over New Zealand at home.

Chamari Athapaththu earned the Player of the Match award for a fine 68 for Sri Lanka against South Africa in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023

Memorable performance

After playing a match-winning role with her 55 and 1/11 in Sri Lanka’s maiden T20I win over England, Athapaththu played a crucial role in their second win in Derby.

The Sri Lanka skipper elected to field first and then restricted England to 116. She picked three wickets with her off-spin and was Sri Lanka’s best performer with the ball. 

With five fours and two sixes to her name, Athapaththu gave Sri Lanka an aggressive start. She added 65 for the first wicket, before falling (44) in the seventh over. The other Sri Lanka batters showed patience and got across the line by the 17th over mark.

This helped Sri Lanka record their maiden series win over England.

Ashleigh Gardner (Australia)

481 runs and 58 wickets in 29 matches

The year that was

Ashleigh Gardner had a splendid run across formats throughout the year. She started 2023 with solid returns against Pakistan at home, before going on to shine in the T20 World Cup. The all-rounder picked her career-best figures (5/12) in Australia’s opening encounter against New Zealand, helping her side to a 97-run win.

She was Australia’s joint-highest wicket-taker in the tournament and finished with economical figures of 1/20 in the World Cup final. These were the best returns for her side on the day, as Australia won the game by 19 runs. 

She was brilliant in the Women’s Ashes, playing a starring role in Australia’s win in the only Test, and also performed well in the limited overs format. She made handy contributions with the bat in the middle order throughout the series.

Best of Ash Gardner | Women's T20WC 2023

Memorable performance

Gardner’s best came in the only Test in the Ashes. Gardner contributed with a handy 40, helping her team finish at 473 in the first innings. A brilliant double ton from Tammy Beaumont challenged that total well, but Gardner’s 4/99 helped pull things back.

Sophie Ecclestone’s five-wicket haul bowled Australia out for 257. Chasing 268 for the win, England were off to a positive start, adding 55 for the first wicket. It was then that Gardner weaved her magic. In her 20 overs, she picked eight wickets for just 66 runs. She accounted for England’s top batters including Beaumont, Heather Knight, and Nat Sciver-Brunt.

Australia won the Test by 89 runs. This win was instrumental in the retention of the Ashes since both teams finished on equal points at the end of the tour. 

Gardner’s 8/66 were the second-best figures in Women’s Tests, and the best-ever for Australia. Her match figures of 12/165 were also the second-best in Women’s Tests.

Beth Mooney (Australia)

1040 runs in 29 matches

The year that was

The left-handed opener is the other Australian in the run for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. Mooney showed unparalleled form in the T20 World Cup in South Africa, finishing as Australia's leading run-scorer in the tournament. Her 54 from 37 against India in the semi-finals and 74* from 53 in the finals helped Australia lift the T20 World Cup for a record sixth time. 

Mooney marked her presence in the ODI arena as well, shining with a ton against Pakistan and some handy performances during the Women’s Ashes. 

She was also a stable presence at the top-order in the longest format. She contributed with a crucial 85 in the second innings of the only Ashes Test in Nottingham helping Australia set a fighting target of 268, which was eventually defended by Gardner’s brilliance.

Batting highlights of a fine half-century for Beth Mooney to lay the platform for Australia's middle order against India in the semi-final at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023

Memorable performance

Mooney was the only player to cross 30 during Australia’s innings in the final. After Lanning elected to bat first, South Africa struck with the crucial wicket of Alyssa Healy (18). Along with Mooney, Healy had been instrumental in Australia’s exceptional start during their previous triumph against India in the T20 World Cup 2020 Final.

Mooney took the charge here, starting with a brisk 46-run stand with Gardner. After Gardner’s dismissal, Mooney played with intent while also anchoring the innings. Her 74 came at a strike-rate close to 140 and included nine fours and a six. 

A good bowling effort helped Australia defend a target of 157. Mooney was the Player of the Match for her tournament-winning knock.

Beth Mooney top-scored in the final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final to help beat South Africa and steer Australia toward their sixth title and earn the Player of the Match award

Nat Sciver-Brunt (England)

894 runs and nine wickets in 18 games

**The year that was **

The winner of Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy 2022 is yet again in the running for the prestigious award. Like last year, Sciver-Brunt was at her dominant best in ODI cricket. From only six games, she scored 393 runs with an average of 131, which included three tons. This brought her total number of ODI tons to eight, now just one behind England’s national record jointly held by Tammy Beaumont and Charlotte Edwards (9 each).

She also had sturdy knocks in her two Test outings of the year, hitting two fifties against Australia and India respectively. 

Sciver-Brunt was England's highest run-getter in the T20 World Cup, scoring 216 runs at a strike rate of 141.17. She continued performing throughout the year, contributing with a brilliant 77 against India to set a vehement England win at Wankhede in December.

She also picked up nine wickets with the ball.

All-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt starred for England at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023

Memorable performance

Sciver-Brunt won the Player of the Series award but shined in particular during the ODI leg. After a handy 31 and 2/38 which helped England win the first ODI, Sciver-Brunt delivered one of her best performances in the second game.

England needed to win to tie with Australia on the points table and went into the final ODI with a chance to retain the Ashes. Sciver-Brunt was economical in the first innings, conceding 44 runs in her quota of overs. However, Australia managed a strong target of 283. The ask was always difficult, and as England lost crucial wickets in the middle overs, the required rate picked up.

However, Sciver-Brunt held her own and kept scoring at a fast pace. Forging important stands with Beaumont, Amy Jones, and Sarah Glenn, the all-rounder took the game to the very last ball. England needed five off one to keep the Ashes alive but Sciver-Brunt could only manage a single. It was her fighting century (111*) that kept England in the game after they were 144/5 and 213/7 at one stage. 

She scored a hundred once more in the third game, this time in a comfortable win for England.