‘Highest scores’ are often associated with insurmountability. They are records which often stand the test of time. However, when the sport or a version of it is in its initial stages, there are higher chances of the older records being surpassed and newer ones being set.
This week, Women’s CricZone takes a trip down memory lane. We look at 16 years of T20Is to track players, who held the record of the highest individual score in T20Is at some point.
Claire Taylor (England)43 v New Zealand
5 Aug 2004
Women’s cricket is known to create records before their men’s counterparts do it, be it the world cup or the first double centurion in ODIs. So, it was a momentous occasion when England faced New Zealand at home in the first ever T20 international, a good six months before the first men’s T20I.
There was probably no sign that day about how T20 would go on to change the game for the better, especially the women’s game. New Zealand scored 131 in the allotted 20 overs with Rebecca Rolls scoring a 32-ball 39. Claire Taylor came to bat with England losing two early wickets and looked good to take England to victory while sharing a 43-run partnership with Charlotte Edwards. But with England falling short by nine runs, Taylor’s happiness was restricted to becoming the top scorer in first ever T20I.
Karen Rolton (Australia)
96* v England
2 Sep 2005
Claire Taylor’s record was obviously just a placeholder before other significant knocks would go on to take the top spot. The record was broken in the next match, albeit one year later, when England took on Australia in Taunton in the second match in the format.
Karen Rolton, walked in when Australia were struggling at 6 for 3 while chasing 152 to win, smashed a 53-ball 96 not out to take her team home without losing anymore wickets in their first-ever T20I. During the stroke filled innings where she hit 16 boundaries along the ground and a six to become the first player to score a fifty in T20Is. The legendary Australian allrounder would stay on the top of the table for another five years.
Rolton’s score of 96 is still the highest score made by a player on debut in the format.
Deandra Dottin (West Indies)
112* v South Africa
5 May 2010
It took five years and 62 matches for someone to score a century in T20Is, but when it arrived, it arrived in style. Deandra Dottin, West Indies allrounder, smashed record books in West Indies’ first match of the T20 World Cup at home in 2010.
Walking in at six with her team going at less than run-a-ball in the tenth over, she showed off her brutal power hitting with nine hits over the fence and seven along the ground. When she reached the century in 38 balls, she became the fastest centurion across gender at the time.
Dottin’s ruthless innings is still the fastest century in women’s T20Is. She is also the only player to score a T20I century after batting below five.
Shandre Fritz (South Africa)
116* v Netherlands
14 Oct 2010
Dottin’s record of highest individual score was broken in the same year by South Africa’s Shandre Fritz in Potchefstroom during the ICC T20 Challenge series.
Fritz opened the innings along with wicket-keeper Trisha Chetty when South Africa won the toss against Netherlands. They shared a 170-run record partnership to take South Africa to 205. During the course of the match Fritz scored the second century in T20Is in 63 balls. When she hit Mariska Kornet for two back-to-back boundaries to take her boundary tally to twelve, she went past Deandra Dottin to place herself at the top of the honours board.
Meg Lanning (Australia)
126 v Ireland
27 Mar 2014
Meg Lanning already made quite a name for herself as a batter before taking on the captaincy for Australia. She was leading the side against Ireland in the 2014 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh when she had the opportunity to break the record for the highest individual score in the format.
Come into bat at the fall of Alyssa Healy in the third over, Lanning had plenty of time to showcase her range and she did just that. She started the innings with three boundaries and then didn’t look back. Having reached the century with a boundary off Lucy O’Reilly of 53 balls, she went past Fritz in the final over to strengthen her claim as one of the best batters in the world.
Sterre Kalis (Netherlands)
126* v Germany
27 Jun 2019
By the time 2019 came, T20 cricket had evolved beyond recognition from that afternoon in Hove fifteen years back. It was Netherlands’ Sterre Kalis’ chance to join Meg Lanning at the top of the table and it happened during the 2019 ICC T20 World Cup Europe Region Qualifier in Cartagena.
Netherlands were playing Germany and the 19-year-old Kalis opened the batting when they were put in to bat. She feasted on the hapless German bowlers, hitting them all around the park, picking their opening bowler, Emma Bargna, for special punishment. She reached her century with a single in the 18th over. Kalis then needed two runs to go past Lanning on the last delivery of the innings, but could manage only a single to draw level.
Meg Lanning (Australia)
133* v England
26 Jul 2019
Meg Lanning probably didn’t want to share the limelight with anyone else and wanted the record for herself and she chose the best possible occasion to make it her own again during the 2019 Ashes in England.
Australia were having a great run in the series having retained the urn by sweeping the ODI series and drawing the Test match. Lanning never the one to be satisfied and wanted to take it to another level when the T20Is began. On a flat surface in Chelmsford, Lanning started going for her shots straightaway. She kept targeting the small boundaries on both ends with her trademark square drive shots reaching a her fifty in 24 balls and reaching the hundred with an audacious six off Anya Shrubsole on the 51st ball she faced. It was a flurry of boundaries from there and she hit another big one off the bowling of Brunt in the last over become the sole owner of the record of highest individual T20I score.
Alyssa Healy (Australia)
148* v Sri Lanka
2 Oct 2019
Alyssa Healy has always been at the forefront of the evolution of T20Is. So, it was time for the feisty right-hander to test the limits of what’s possible in the modern game.
Healy put on a masterclass at home at the North Sydney Oval with her captain Lanning watching from the other end to set the new world record. The wicketkeeper-batter was on song right from the word go, hitting Achini Kulasuriya for a four and six in the second over of the match. She cut, drove and lofted all the bowlers around the park in an innings that was studded with 26 hits across the fence.
Healy reached her century in 46 balls – the second fastest behind Deandra Dottin – and continued to plunder Sri Lanka’s bowling attack. With a straight six over Ama Kanchana’s head, she surpassed Lanning to set new individual score record. Healy would go on to finish with unbeaten on 148.
You can read more lists here.