CWC22: The Upstox Most Valuable Team of the Tournament
The 12th edition of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup will be remembered for some breathtaking last-over finishes, and numerous individual performances that caught the imagination of the cricketing world.
Narrowing down a list of 11 players to compile the Team of the Tournament was an incredibly tough task for the panelists, but they came up with a side comprising as many as four Australians, three from South Africa, two from England and one each from West Indies and Bangladesh.
Selection panel members: Lisa Sthalekar, Nasser Hussain, Natalie Germanos (commentators); Alok Gupta, Kristy Havill (journalists); Chris Tetley (Convenor, ICC)
Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa)
433 runs at 54.12, SR: 77.73, 50s: 5
With her rock-solid approach and impeccable consistency, Laura Wolvaardt was the glue that held South Africa’s batting together throughout the tournament. The standout feature of her batting was her sublime skill with the cover drive, which drew gasps aplenty.
At 17, she had excelled in her maiden World Cup appearance in England five years ago, with 324 runs at 64.80 during her team’s run to the semis. The right-hander bettered it this time around with five fifty-plus scores – a joint record for a single tournament alongside Deborah Hockley (1988) and Elysse Perry (2017).
In a scarcely-believable consistent run, she crossed 40 in six of her eight outings. The best of the lot was her 79-ball 80 against India in their last league encounter, which laid the foundation for a thrilling last-over win.
Alyssa Healy (Australia)
509 runs at 56.55, SR: 103.66, 50s: 2, 100s: 2, Catches: 4, St: 4
Partnering Wolvaardt at the top is the swashbuckling Alyssa Healy, who characteristically took bowlers apart with her sizzling stroke-play during the competition. She stroked 72 each during Australia’s successful run-chases against Pakistan and India respectively during the league stage. She was impressive in the semi-final clash against the West Indies too, when her stroke-filled 129 helped bat the opponents out of the game.
The best, however, was saved for the final. Healy was simply unbelievable, making a record 170 from 138 balls, a knock studded with 26 fours. It was the highest individual score in a World Cup final, across men's and women's cricket. Her sensational knock helped Australia set up a target of 357 against England, and Australia cruised home with 71 runs to spare. Healy was adjudged the Player of the Match as well as the Player of the Tournament.
Meg Lanning (Australia) (captain)
394 runs at 56.28, SR: 88.73, 50s: 2, 100s: 1
The dynamic Meg Lanning leads the Upstox Most Valuable Team of the Tournament. The Australia skipper began the campaign with a superbly compiled 86, before sealing 270-plus run-chases against India and South Africa with 97 and 135* respectively – the latter being the third-highest individual score of the competition.
Her smart captaincy was instrumental in the team’s unbeaten run through to the final. With the conclusion of the World Cup, she has now won 66 of the 75 games as captain which makes up for a win percentage of 88.66. Staggering.
Rachael Haynes (Australia)
497 runs at 62.12, SR: 82.55, 50s: 3, 100s: 1
Much like Wolvaardt did for the Proteas, Rachael Haynes led Australia’s batting in the competition with significant contributions at the top of the order. The tone was set with a fluent 130 first up against England, before she stroked two 80-plus scores against the West Indies in the league stage and the semi-final respectively. The left-hander was the only batter to be involved in four century stands in the competition, thrice with her fellow opener Healy, including a solid 160-run opening stand in the final.
Despite the opening slots taken up in this XI, her quality run ensured that she found a place as No.4.
Nat Sciver (England)
436 runs at 72.66, SR: 92.96, 50s: 1, 100s: 2; 4 wickets at 73.75
England had a shaky start to the competition with three straight defeats first up, but Nat Sciver remained a steadfast positive throughout that wobble. She was quick to find her groove with a valiant hundred in a tense run-chase against Australia in the group stage. A brisk 45 against India was followed by a hard-fought, gritty 61 against New Zealand, which guided England to a crucial one-wicket win. She was effective with her right-arm medium pace too, restricting the run-flow in the middle overs to set it up for spinners Sophie Ecclestone and Charlie Dean.
She finished this tournament as England's highest run-getter, third overall. Her best was reserved for the final. Although in a losing cause, Sciver made a gritty 148 not out against a dominant Australian side. With wickets tumbling from one end, she stayed firm at the other end and fought a lone battle till the end. Her brilliant 121-ball innings included 15 fours, a six, and a lot of grit.
Beth Mooney (Australia)
330 runs at 110, SR: 100.91 50s: 2, 100s: 0
A mainstay in the middle order, Beth Mooney is a match-winner, a finisher, and also a brilliant fielder. Throughout the tournament, she made runs in double-digits, with an unbeaten 66 against Bangladesh in the group stage being her highest individual score.
Not only did she contribute to Australia's unbeaten run with the bat, she was also clinical on the field. She topped the most catches chart in CWC22 with seven catches in nine games. In the final, she scored a brisk 62 from 47 balls.
Hayley Matthews (West Indies)
260 runs at 37.14, SR: 80, 50s: 0, 100s: 1, 10 wickets at 27.80, BBI: 4/15
Hayley Matthews lit the tournament first up with a sparkling 119 in the opening match against the White Ferns at the Bay Oval. She bagged two wickets later that evening to lead West Indies to a resounding three-run win.
In a campaign marked by inconsistencies throughout, Matthews was the standout performer in the team’s run to the semi-final, leading the way with both bat and ball by a fair margin.
Marizanne Kapp (South Africa)
12 wickets at 26.25, BBI: 5/45, 203 runs at 40.60, SR: 92.27
No player inspired her team’s campaign quite like Marizanne Kapp, who stood up on either front whenever the situation presented itself. She formed a formidable new-ball pair with Shabnim Ismail, with the two collectively accounting for 26 wickets.
With the bat, she powered the Proteas gloriously to some sensational last over wins, her late-blitz reminiscent of Lance Klusener’s heroics during the 1999 Men’s World Cup in England.
Her best day in the competition came against England in the league stage, when she bagged a five-for, inflicted a crucial runout, and scored an important 32 to help South Africa seal a tense three-wicket win.
Sophie Ecclestone (England)
21 wickets at 15.61, BBI: 6/36, Eco: 3.83
Unrivalled at the top in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s ODI Bowling Rankings, Sophie Ecclestone enjoyed a dream run in the competition, with a wicket off every 24th ball. After underwhelming in her first three outings, the left-arm spinner rediscovered her best with three-fors in each of the next four, before rattling South Africa with 6/36 in the semis.
Ecclestone’s return to form coincided with England’s change in fortunes, which saw them romp to their eighth World Cup final. In the final against Australia, she added one more wicket to her tally, taking it to 21 – the most wickets by a bowler in this edition. She also topped the list of the most wickets by an England bowler in a single Women's World Cup.
Shabnim Ismail (South Africa)
14 wickets at 17.5, BBI: 3/27, Eco: 4.02
Shabnim Ismail typically bowled with fiery pace and aggression throughout the competition, delivering key blows during various phases of the game. Three-fors in each of her first three outings contributed to South Africa’s glorious start to the competition, her best of 3/27 coming in the opener against New Zealand.
On days when she went for runs first up, the right-arm quick was tough enough to make a comeback in her later spells, as she did in the last league game against India. Suzie Bates, Nat Sciver, Alyssa Healy were some of her top victims in the competition.
Salma Khatun (Bangladesh)
10 wickets at 22.40, BBI: 3/23, Eco: 3.79
In Bangladesh’s debut Women’s Cricket World Cup campaign, the experienced Salma Khatun was highly impressive with her off-breaks against top opponents. With 1/29 off nine overs, she played her part in Bangladesh’s historic nine-run triumph over Pakistan in Hamilton.
Against a formidable Australia, she removed the top three to somewhat ignite hopes of an unlikely upset. Sophie Devine, Healy, Haynes, Lanning, Heather Knight – half of her scalps were of quality top-order batters.
12th Player: Charlie Dean (England)
11 wickets at 18, BBI: 4/23, Eco: 4.18