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January 22, 2024
World Cup stars dominate ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year for 2023

Sri Lanka Cricket

The ICC Team of the Year recognises 11 outstanding individuals who have impressed throughout 2023, be it with the bat, the ball or their all-round exploits.

Chamari Athapaththu (c) (Sri Lanka)

The veteran Sri Lankan started the year with a Player of the Match performance in Cape Town in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, smashing 68 off 50 balls to help Sri Lanka beat South Africa by three runs. The big upset win set the tone for a remarkable year for Sri Lanka women and Athapaththu was at the forefront of it all.

She finished with 470 runs in the year, scoring at a quicker-than-usual strike-rate of 130.91. With 15 sixes in the year, she also hit a personal high in Women’s T20Is.

In the second half of the year, Athapaththu hit a purple patch, recording an unbeaten 80 in 47 balls in Colombo to help Sri Lanka pull back a win in the three-match series against New Zealand. Athapaththu’s assault blew the White Ferns attack away as Sri Lanka went on to chase 141 with all 10 wickets to spare. She then went on to play a pivotal role in Sri Lanka’s series triumph over England in England.

Beth Mooney (wk) (Australia)

Making 410 runs at an average of 41 and a strike rate of 120.58, Beth Mooney was a key performer for the all-conquering Australians who claimed another T20 World Cup trophy.

Mooney began her year with 46 (29) against Pakistan in Hobart, and despite a slow start in the successful campaign in South Africa, flourished when her side needed it most.

The left-hander made 56* (53) to kick into gear, before a crucial half-century against India in the semi-final at Newlands. Mooney would go on to make 74* (53) in the final against the tournament hosts at the same venue.

From there, attention turned to a Women’s Ashes and a home series against the West Indies. Mooney made scores of 61*, 22, and 32 against England on the away trip.

Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa)

Only Hayley Matthews made more runs than Laura Wolvaardt’s 586 runs at 45, and the South African star enjoyed the stage of a home T20 World Cup.

The classy right-hander built into the year with a knock of 42* (39) against the West Indies in East London, and pushed on with three consecutive fifties as the Proteas made their World Cup charge.

Wolvaardt continued in the same vein when travelling to Pakistan, making 44, 41, and 72 in Karachi, before returning to South Africa and making 53 (44) against New Zealand in Benoni.

Wolvaardt’s last outing was an unbeaten 49* against Bangladesh in Kimberley.

Hayley Matthews (West Indies)

A unanimous selection in the Team of the Year, Matthews was the most-prolific run scorer in women’s T20Is (700 at 63.63, strike rate 132) in 2023, while also claiming 19 wickets at an economy of 6.84.

The No.1 ranked MRF Tyres ICC Women’s T20I all-rounder put on a remarkable performance for the ages against Australia in a bilateral T20I series in the second half of the year. Her stellar showing in the series saw her make scores of 99*, 132, and 79 as the West Indies skipper proved to be a thorn in the Australian side.

Matthews’ extraordinary unbeaten 99 in the first game of the series was overshadowed by her own mind-blowing 132 in a run-chase of 213 in Sydney. The world-record run-chase in women’s T20Is saw Matthews break several records including the highest individual score in a women’s T20I run-chase. Her overall tally of 310 runs in the series is the most by any player in a women’s T20I bilateral series.

Matthews also had a good T20 World Cup, making 130 runs and taking four wickets and four catches. Overall, the all-rounder racked up 700 runs in the year, the most by any player in a year in Women’s T20Is. She also picked up 19 wickets at an average of 16.21 in the year.

Nat Sciver-Brunt (England)

Making 364 runs at 45.50 and a strike rate close to 136, Nat Sciver-Brunt continued to match her reputation as one of the best players in the world, only dismissed twice under 10 across the year in the T20I format.

Sciver-Brunt reached 40 in four or five knocks at the T20 World Cup in South Africa, making 50 (42) against India in Gqeberha and 81* (40) against Pakistan in Cape Town. The right-hander made 40 (34) in the semi-final against South Africa, and went on to make another half-century (77 from 53 balls) against India at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Sciver-Brunt chimed in with the ball at times, taking five wickets at an economy of better than eight an over.

Amelia Kerr (New Zealand)

It was another strong year for one of the game’s brightest talents, making 365 runs with bat in hand alongside 12 wickets in 11 bowling efforts with her leg-spin.

With the bat, Kerr averaged close to 37 with a strike rate of 115.50, making three half-centuries over the year. Her knock of 66 from 48 balls against Sri Lanka was a highlight for the White Ferns at the T20 World Cup, also hitting 70* (46) in bilateral action against the Proteas later in the year.

A spell of 3/23 against Australia in Paarl was a highlight on the bowling side, also taking 3/11 against Pakistan in Queenstown at the end of the year.

Ellyse Perry (Australia)

Despite a lean run at the start of the year, Perry ended 2023 on a high, putting together scores of 51*, 34, 70 and 40 in the bilaterals against England and West Indies.

A notable aspect of Perry’s year was her continued aggressive intent with the bat as she made 319 runs in 10 innings at an average of 45.57 and a strike-rate of 151.18. With 11 sixes in the year, she surpassed her personal best and showcased a different range to her T20 game.

While her batting stood out in a year where she had little to do with the ball, a standout highlight was a remarkable piece of fielding in the T20 World Cup semi-final game against India. With 18 needed off 9 balls, Perry stopped a boundary in stunning fashion, throwing herself into the air and flicking the ball back to save two runs.

Ash Gardner (Australia)

Player of the Tournament of the T20 World Cup in 2023, Gardner provided both highlight moments and a dependable consistency as Australia powered to more silverware.

Gardner made 234 runs at 29.25 with a strike rate of 121.24 across the year, of which 110 were made at the T20 World Cup. Often trusted to accelerate in tough middle order positions, her 31 (18) and 29 (21) in the knockout stages were crucial.

It wasn’t just Gardner’s wicket-taking abilities that were noticed at the T20 World Cup even with the five-wicket haul against New Zealand being a highlight, but her ability to tie oppositions down in clutch situations. Her 1/20 in the T20 World Cup final stifling the South Africans in Cape Town helped the favourites overpower the hosts, and Gardner finished the year with 17 wickets at 19.70 with an economy of 7.33. Gardner finished the year with a spell of 3/32 (3.5) against the West Indies in Brisbane to solidify her credentials as a no-doubt selection.

Deepti Sharma (India)

Deepti Sharma proved difficult to get away for almost every opponent in 2023, going at less than a run a ball across almost 60 overs for India. The off-spinner claimed 21 wickets in 17 outings, including four three-wicket hauls early in the year.

The last of the three came at the T20 World Cup in Cape Town, finishing with 3/15 in four overs against the West Indies, as the spinner helped her country reach the knockout stages of the tournament.

The lower-order batter also chipped in with the bat when required, making 106 runs at a rate of better than a run a ball.

Sophie Ecclestone (England)

The top-ranked women’s T20I bowler finished the Women’s T20 World Cup with 11 wickets, more than anyone at the tournament. Ecclestone’s sensational showing in the tournament saw her go past 800 rating points, becoming just the second bowler to do so in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s T20I Bowling rankings.

She played a starring role in the T20 World Cup campaign for England, even putting in a brilliant showing in the semi-final, where her 3/22 wasn’t quite enough for England to beat South Africa.

She finished the year with 23 wickets in 11 matches, with an amazing average of 10.60 and bowled at an economy rate of 5.65. Ecclestone ends the year as the No.1 ranked Women’s T20I bowler with 777 rating points. She ended the year on a high, returning to the side after a surgery to her dislocated right shoulder, and finishing the T20Is against India as the joint-highest wicket-taker.

Megan Schutt (Australia)

So crucial with the new ball, Megan Schutt again stepped up for Australia when needed, taking 21 wickets at 15.57 at a rate of just 6.81 runs per over.

Schutt claimed 5/15 (4) against Pakistan to begin the year, and raced into the T20 World Cup with seven wickets in the first three matches of the campaign.

The swing bowler went on to claim a wicket in every match at the tournament, taking 1/23 in the final against South Africa.

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