T20 World Cup rewind: Top five spells

Captains of all the 10 teams pose for a photograph at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. © ICC

Shashikala Siriwardene’s spell against Bangladesh, Nadine de Klerk’s spell that left Australia searching for answers in the semis, England’s spin twins Sarah Glenn and Sophie Ecclestone’s spells against Pakistan, Shikha Pandey’s three-wicket haul against Australia (well, it almost made it!) – these and many more bowling efforts in the T20 World Cup left us ‘spell’bound. After much deliberation and discussion, Women’s CricZone picks the top five performances with the ball this World Cup.

Poonam Yadav’s 4-0-19-4 vs Australia

Australia were chasing only 133. They had raced to 58 for 2 in nine overs and Poonam Yadav was yet to bowl. It seemed India had let their early advantage slip after Beth Mooney was sent back early. Moreover, Alyssa Healy had managed to shrug off her poor run of form and belted a huge hit over deep mid-wicket to bring up her half-century.

Troubled times? Call me maybe, said Yadav. Off the very next ball, Healy tried to work one to the on side without getting to the pitch of the ball and ended up spooning a simple catch back to the leggie. Poonam Yadav had arrived.

In her next over, wrong turned right for her as she dismissed Rachael Haynes and Ellyse Perry off back-to-back deliveries to well and truly turn the match. It was only the third time Perry was out for a golden duck in international cricket.

What’s more, Yadav was unfortunate to not get a hat-trick after Taniya Bhatia grassed a difficult chance. But in her next over, the wicket-keeper made amends, stumping Jonassen off yet another wrong ‘un. Though the leg-spinner didn’t get a fifer, her spell proved to be the kind of inspiration India needed at the start of the tournament.

ALSO READ: Poonam’s Yadav’s trickery

Jess Jonassen’s 4-0-20-3 vs India

India had been pegged back early in the T20 World Cup final thanks to Australia’s assault with the bat. But Jess Jonassen’s early strike ensured that she blew the wind out of India’s sails.

Opening the bowling with Megan Schutt, Jonassen kept up the pressure that the seamer had built. Taniya Bhatia, in a bid to sweep one, got hit on the helmet and walked off. That brought Jemimah Rodrigues to the middle, who looked to take on the spinner and hit it straight to mid-on.

Then in the last over of the power play, the left-arm spinner cleverly changed her lines to net the big fish, Harmanpreet Kaur. First, she didn’t give any width, then delivered one slightly outside off, and followed it up with a delivery in line of the stumps that was carved over the off side. Off the next delivery, Kaur got a top edge to deep square leg when she tried to slog sweep Jonassen.

Finally, in the penultimate over of the innings, Jonassen got rid of Radha Yadav to fittingly finish with final with three wickets to her credit.

Ritu Moni’s 4-0-18-4 vs New Zealand

New Zealand were taking on Bangladesh before what was to be a virtual quarter-final against Australia, in a race for the semi-final spot. They chose to bat with the need to boost their net run rate in the forefront of their minds. Though they lost Rachel Priest and Sophie Devine pretty early on a two-paced track, at 65 for 2 in 12 overs with Suzie Bates and Maddy Green pretty much set, they had braced themselves for a strong finish.

That’s when Ritu Moni ran in to bowl her second over. She landed one in line of the off stump and it moved in just a touch. Bates tried to whip it away to the on side and missed. Result: stumps shattered. At the other end, Rumana Ahmed had managed to send Green and Hayley Jensen back to the dugout.

Katey Martin and Amelia Kerr had to start from scratch and help New Zealand finish on a high. But Moni ensured that Bangladesh remained on top. She bowled one outside off on a length, Martin looked to slap it over point. She ended up hitting it straight to Fahima Khatun who took a sharp catch. Kerr would fall to a similar shot an over later.

ALSO READ: T20 World Cup 2020: Records broken and made

But Moni had to owe Fargana Hoque for Anna Peterson’s wicket. The batter played a slog and got more height towards deep mid-wicket. Hoque covered good ground from long-on and took a splendid diving catch whilst running at full tilt. Moni’s four had left New Zealand with stunned faces. But sadly for her, Bangladesh couldn’t overhaul their 92-run target.

Diana Baig’s 4-1-19-2 vs South Africa

Lizelle Lee was coming off the back of a century against Thailand. Diana Baig bowled a couple of outswingers to start proceedings – one beat Lee’s attempted drive as well. Sometimes a bowler’s initial deliveries tell you her rhythm; Baig seemed to be on top of her game against South Africa that day.

Baig’s third ball was thrashed through cover-point for the first boundary, but the Pakistan seamer extracted revenge soon. She pulled her length back a bit and landed it outside off, getting it to move ever-so slightly. Lee went for the booming drive again and nicked off. The right beginning for Pakistan and Baig.

In her second over, she went for nine, conceding a boundary to Marizanne Kapp, but skipper Bismah Maroof persisted with for another over inside the power play and reaped the rewards. Anam Amin’s quiet couple of overs from the other end had exerted enough pressure to force South Africa into a mistake.

ALSO READ: Pakistan’s own Lady Diana

Dane van Niekerk played an innocuous delivery from Baig on to her stumps as she went to drive a length ball on the up. What’s more, Baig ended up bowling a wicket-maiden. She was brought back in the 15th over for her final one and just conceded six then.

Megan Schutt’s 3-0-17-2 vs South Africa

Megan Schutt has this deadly impression of bowling drastic in-swinging balls that make the batters question their skills. Dane van Niekerk would have done just that after the semi-final of the T20 World Cup. Chasing 98 in 13 overs, Lizelle Lee began by hitting a four off Schutt. In her second over, Schutt managed to keep Sune Luus and van Niekerk quiet – Lee was dismissed by Sophie Molineux in the interim – before the magic ball.

Schutt landed it on a length outside off – nice, harmless-looking delivery. But no sooner did the ball land, than it gathered momentum and curved in drastically, taking van Niekerk by surprise. She could only watch the stumps being disturbed.

Fast forward to South Africa needing 27 in the last two overs. Luus had managed to add 47 in the company of Laura Wolvaardt, keeping the visitors in the game. That’s when Schutt used another trick in her repertoire. She bowled a leg-cutter on a length, which Luus could hit only as far as long-off. Schutt as well as Australia knew the importance of that scalp.