The year 2019 has been another incredible one in women’s sport with several teams and athletes dominating both domestically and on the international stage.
There is no doubt about it.
When it comes to women’s cricket, this current Australian women’s team is the best there has ever been and now they have the record to prove it.
With their ODI win against Sri Lanka at Allan Border Field on Wednesday, the Aussie women have made cricket history with a new record for the most consecutive wins in women’s ODIs. This surpasses the former record which was set between December 1997 and February 1999 set by pioneer Belinda Clarke.
The all-time record is also within the team’s sights. That record was set by the Australian men’s team led by Ricky Ponting in 2003 when that team won 21 consecutive ODIs.
For the Australian women, this is an incredible achievement. Whilst its not exactly comparing oranges with oranges (when you consider that the Clark-led team was juggling their cricket careers with jobs and potentially did not have as many opportunities to play as the current team do), it’s a formidable achievement considering how much the women’s game has developed across the globe in the last two years.
This record is a superb way to end the two international tours the team have competed in (an away tour against the West Indies and a home tour against Sri Lanka) ahead of the WBBL commencing next weekend.
During these two tours, the Aussie women’s dominance has been cemented with plenty of individual milestones and stand out performances. There is also plenty of talent in the pipeline with Erin Burns making her debut in the ODI leg of the West Indies series, becoming ODI player No.141 and then T20 player no.52.
Additionally, in just her second match for Australia in the T20 format (against Sri Lanka), Nicola Carey’s spell of 1-9 was the most economical four over spell bowled by a woman in a T20I in Australia.
Alyssa Healy continues her run of good form. During the tour against Sri Lanka, Healy played her 100th T20 International and made her 175th appearance for her country. On that day, she became just the eighth woman to play more than 100 T20Is and only the second Aussie alongside her mate Ellyse Perry.
During the series against Sri Lanka she also crushed the world record for the highest T20I score for a woman with 148 runs from 31 balls and the fastest by an Australian. She eclipsed the previous record of 133 held by Meg Lanning. This was her first century in this format of the game.
I’ve also loved watching the bowling partnership between Ellyse Perry and Megan Schutt develop. Perry has taken more ODI wickets than any other woman this calendar year, but assistant Aussie coach Ben Sawyer credits part of her success to Schutt’s work.
Schutt’s in swing and Perry’s outswing complement each other beautifully and make them a formidable opening bowling pair. Heading into that ODI series against the West Indies, the duo opened the bowling in Australia’s last six ODIs and across all those matches, there was only one opening partnership of more than fifty.
For Lanning, it took just one game in the West Indies for her to start breaking records. In the first ODI where Australia won by 178 runs, Lanning scored 121 runs and that score saw her become the fastest player to reach 13 ODI centuries.
She got there in 76 innings, passing Hashim Amla’s previous mark of 73. Incredibly, Lanning has hit a century in every country she has played in (except Sri Lanka) and has also scored one against every other team competing in the ICC ODI Championship.
During the West Indies tour she also became Australia’s greatest female run scorer, surpassing Karen Rolton’s former record of 6221.
I sometimes forget just how good Lanning is given that my interest in women’s cricket started to develop about five years ago. During that period Lanning has spent some time on the sideline because of that shoulder injury, but at just age 27 she still has many years left to play and many more records to surpass.
But while this team is exceptional, that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas to improve on.
One thing this team (and in particular) Lanning needs to work on ahead of the next round of international fixtures and in the lead up to the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup in February and March next year is her record at the coin toss. There was a point during the tour in the West Indies where Lanning had won only one of her previous five coin tosses.
She has even taken the extreme measure of bringing in another player to make the call for her, with Healy apparently boasting that she was better at making the call.
But for the moment, it’s time for these women to put the green and gold shirts away and focus on an upcoming summer where no doubt there will be plenty of competition for a place in the World Cup squad.