We will all remember the mighty centuries, the big wins, the brisk fifties, the moments where an entire bowling line up stood tall to bring the other team down, but perhaps a lot less will be saved for those moments that lit up the room when all that pervaded was darkness.
Couldn’t be truer for the just-concluded mother of all sporting battles in the sphere of women’s cricket: the 2022 Women’s ODI World cup!
So while instances such as West Indies’s wins versus the White Ferns, Mandhana and Harmanpreet’s centuries in the game against the Windies women have made the big highlights, which other important efforts stood out from the world cup albeit being unsung?
Nat Sciver’s heartbreakingly beautiful century in the finals
Nat Sciver bloomed in the CWC 2022 much like a Lotus amid contaminated waters. She was the apostle of focus and great determination and as seen in both contests against Australia, the finals as well as the earlier contest, she was very nearly the big differentiator between the two sides.
At a time where England were well on the backfoot, having witnessed a Healy and Haynes-powered carnage that took Australia to 356 on the board, it was Nat Sciver who kept up the fight for England.
When much of the hope for a win was lost with Dunkley and then, Ecclestone simply gifting away the wickets, Sciver continued to bat and ended up two short of what would’ve been a well-deserved 150; her unbeaten 148 coming off only 121 deliveries when Shrubsole played a nothing stroke to offer catching practice to Ash Gardner.
With nearly seven overs remaining when the final English wicket fell, one wonders just how many would Sciver have gathered had just one batter stuck by her side? Could she have actually overtaken Alyssa Healy’s destructive 170, that trailblazing knock that pole vaulted Australia to their highest-ever team score in any ODI final?
With wickets falling one the one hand, Wyatt, Beaumont, Knight all departing without much trouble for their opponent, Sciver stuck around and constructed a brave knock that had all the glorious shots and on either side of the wicket.
Make no mistake for this wasn’t her only 2022 World cup century; in an earlier clash, she nearly took England home when Australia set yet another imposing 311 to win, scoring 109 of those runs on her own. And even on that occasion, Nat Sciver remained unbeaten.
If there’s truly a word that could describe the courageous England vice captain then it’s that word that befits every century knock of hers in the huge event: unbroken!
When Marizanne Kapp’ed’ a mega fifer vs the English
Marizanne Kapp is unsurprisingly one of the most liked and widely acclaimed stars of world cricket. It’s one thing to be liked in your country, but something fascinating and respect worthy to be appreciated around the world.
And Kappie, as she’s called, proved just why she’s so well liked in the massive contest against the English, the first time that the Proteas met the English prior to the semi finals.
During South Africa’s run chase, that became tenser than one would’ve imagined, Kapp arrived in the middle when 78 were required off 84, a time where the top-scoring Laura Wolvaardt had just fallen.
With the run rate touching nearly six an over and a cautious Mignon du Preez at the other end, someone had to go for the shots and play the aggressor that is precisely when the right hander played that very key role. Not that she’d have it all smooth as Du Preez, who was 2 when Kapp arrived, would fall six runs later meaning piling more pressure on the capable all rounder’s shoulders.
She’d dance down the wicket to Kate Cross, lift Ecclestone over covers and run hard to convert the 1s into 2s, scoring 32 of the required runs on her own during a tight finish that ultimately went the Proteas’ way.
But Marizanne Kapp had actually done much of the damage even before she walked out into the middle at Mount Maunganui during her team’s successful run chase.
Thanks to a magnificent fifer, the only by a Proteas bowler in the tournament, Marizanne Kapp removed the top and the lower order striking the key wickets of the destructive Wyatt, illustrious captain Knight, the rising Sophia Dunkley and the fast bowling duo of Brunt and Cross.
For her 5 for 45 and the valuable 32 runs during a close finish, Marizanne Kapp did her team proud and clinched, unsurprisingly, the player-of-the-match award.
The Catch That Defined The Women’s ODI World Cup of 2022
One of the outstanding highlights of West Indies’ tense but ultimately, exhilarating win over the English side were the vital runs that flew from the blades of Chedean Nation (49 not out) and Shemaine Campbelle (66 off 80) when the Caribbean team batted first.
Important contributions from the lower order are a rare luxury the West Indies, so overly reliant on the big three- Matthews, Dottin, and Taylor- enjoy.
But there was something else that stood out too in the massively-gripping game that Taylor’s side won by the barest of margins: 7 runs.
It was Deandra Dottin’s heart stopping catch early on in England’s inning that sent the dangerous Lauren Winfield-Hill back to the dugout.
Chasing what seemed a gettable 226 for victory, England were on the backfoot early on in the chase when Winfield, usually so strong square of the wicket, scooped an airy blow toward point off Shamilia Connell.
It wasn’t that the stroke was fired softly, the right-hander attempting to make the most of a delivery bowled a tad bit wide outside the off stump. But so immaculate and well timed were Dottin’s reflexes that she immediately dived onto her left side to take an absolute blinder of a catch.
It didn’t seem wrong at all when in the aftermath of that stunning exhibition of fielding, the onlookers took to social media stating the Barbadian was wearing an invisible cape!
Afy Fletcher’s brief but impactful bowling spell in the world cup
Afy Fletcher, the experienced leg break specialist from Grenada appeared much later for the West Indies in the recent Women’s World Cup than the team would’ve liked. But it didn’t take the right arm spinner that long to get going as in her maiden appearance in the series, Fletcher spun a web of deceit around an unsuspecting Bangladeshi line-up that had just no idea about the talented spinner’s potential. Fletcher removed the middle order on her own and ended up with brilliant figures of 3 for 29 off her 10 overs.
But what stood out from Fletcher’s convincing spell of virtually unplayable leg spin bowling was that her opponents failed to collect a run from 47 of the 60 deliveries she bowled.
Imagine 47 dot balls in the firmament of big-hitting present day cricket.
A huge contributing factor to West Indies’ thrilling, even unreal win that came off Taylor bowling the 50th over was the returning star in a batting-heavy line up.
Sidra Ameen notched up Pakistan’s only century in the world cup
For all intents and purposes, Pakistan didn’t have a spectacular outing in the world cup. Now that it’s over, one supposes, they’d like to sit together as a team and work out the weaknesses in what should essentially serve as an exercise in eradicating flaws from their cricket.
The fact that they were just able to pull off a solitary win against the West Indies and did, as a matter of fact, lose to Bangladesh points to the massive concern the team would like to work upon.
But if there was something that stood out even from the dejected loss endured against Bangladesh, then it was Sidra Ameen’s fantastic century.
For starters, Bangladesh set a healthy 234 on the board on a day where matchwinning talents- Diana Baig and Fatima Sana went for one run too many. Just how often does one find the right arm medium pace of Baig going for nearly 6.5 an over?
But when the run chase arrived, the Lahore-born Sidra Ameen took things into her hand and went about scoring cautiously but beautifully.
Showing excellent footwork and balancing the accumulation of dot balls with aggressive stroke play, the 29-year-old reached a fighting century.
What stood out from that very underrated effort were Ameen’s excellent powers of concentration, the opening batter reaching the three figure mark in the forty fifth over having arrived in the first.
Though by the time she notched up a maiden career century, seven wickets had fallen with the required rate touching ten an over. It was just not meant to be Pakistan’s day.
When Vastrakar and Rana revived an Indian inning that was going nowhere
One of the more under appreciated moments of the just-concluded Women’s World Cup came during India’s crunch game against Pakistan. At a time where the mainstream of the team’s batting had long departed with Pakistan bowlers hovering around a crumbling line up like vultures, along came Sneh Rana and Pooja Vastrakar to stitch a valuable century-plus stand in the middle.
But just how many of us saw that coming?
From being 114 for 6 upon Mithali Raj’s departure to taking the scoreboard to 236 when the seventh wicket fell, the two right handers batted fire with fire and took a struggling team to a position of reasonable comfort thanks to a precious 122-run stand.
In so doing, both Rana and Vastrakar smoked vital half centuries (53 and 67, respectively) during an attractive stand that featured no fewer than twelve boundaries.
What really stood out was the fact that in a team where Shafali Verma, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur, all aces with the bat failed to get going, it took an unlikely flurry of runs from a vulnerable lower order to save the day for India.
In the future course of time, the side may again depend on the off spin and fast bowling pair to contain any more collapses, now that they’ve proved their mettle at the big stage.