STATS: KSL 2019 Bowling Rankings

As we’ve seen in previous years, because two-thirds of overseas picks are batsmen, the field is a little more open for English players to shine as bowlers in the Kia Super League.

Top of the tree this season was Freya Davies, who broke the record for a KSL season with 19 wickets. Although Davies narrowly missed out on the Player of the Tournament award after getting slightly tonked by Danni Wyatt and Suzie Bates in the final, she has made a strong case for inclusion in England’s plans for the winter leading up to the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia next February.

Another player who will be hoping to make an appearance in Australia is leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, who lost her Southern Stars central contract earlier this year after falling behind Georgia Wareham in the pecking order. Wellington wasn’t even an original pick for the Vipers – coming in as a late replacement for Sophie Molineux – but she made a real impact to rank second with 15 wickets at 6.85.

Like Wellington, No. 3 ranked Tash Farrant also lost her central contract this year; but since then has won the County Championship with Kent and has had her best KSL season yet for the Vipers, taking 14 wickets at 6.62. There probably isn’t a way back into England colours for Farrant in the short term, but her signature must now surely be one of the most hotly contested amongst the non-international players for The Hundred next season.

Sophie Ecclestone, ranked No. 4, of course needs no introduction; but the name at No. 5 might: Sarah Glenn is a young leg-spinner who doesn’t turn it a mile, but bowls intelligently – adjusting her length and flight to keep the batsmen on their toes. Glenn finished the season with 11 wickets at 6.05 – the joint-second best Economy Rate in KSL 2019, behind only Marizanne Kapp (at 5.34) for bowlers who delivered more than 5 overs – and it will be interesting to see if she can push on next season, with England looking to add some variety to their bowling attack, which is currently heavy on right-arm seamers and left-arm orthodox spinners.

Player Matches Wickets Economy
1. Freya Davies (Western Storm) 11 19 6.43
2. Amanda-Jade Wellington (Southern Vipers) 11 15 6.85
3. Tash Farrant (Southern Vipers) 10 14 6.62
4. Sophie Ecclestone (Lancashire Thunder) 10 12 6.43
5. Sarah Glenn (Loughborough Lightning) 11 11 6.05
6. Kirstie Gordon (Loughborough Lightning) 10 11 6.05
7. Dane van Niekerk (Surrey Stars) 8 12 6.95
8. Claire Nicholas (Western Storm) 10 12 7.02
9. Anya Shrubsole (Western Storm) 10 13 7.93
10. Jenny Gunn (Loughborough Lightning) 11 10 6.71
11. Hayley Matthews (Loughborough Lightning) 9 9 6.14
12. Deepti Sharma (Western Storm) 11 9 6.62
13. Leigh Kasperek (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 10 7.46
14. Katie Levick (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 8 6.19
15. Kate Cross (Lancashire Thunder) 10 11 8.57
16. Stafanie Taylor (Southern Vipers) 6 8 6.26
17. Laura Marsh (Surrey Stars) 8 10 8.22
18. Katherine Bryce (Loughborough Lightning) 9 8 6.58
19. Emma Lamb (Lancashire Thunder) 10 10 8.32
20. Alice Davidson-Richards (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 10 9.54

Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy

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STATS: KSL 2019 Batting Rankings

Player of the Tournament Danni Wyatt heads this season’s KSL Batting Rankings, with not only the most runs, but also the highest Strike Rate among the leading batsmen. (Overall, only Surrey Stars’ Eva Gray had a higher Strike Rate – exactly 200, having hit 8 off 4 balls faced in the tournament.)

Wyatt’s effortless 100 versus the Stars at Arundel was a personal highlight of 2019, though I’m told I might have changed my mind had I seen Jemimah Rodrigues match-winning 112 for the Diamonds against the Vipers at York. Rodrigues started the campaign slowly, with scores of 4, 20 and 2; but found her feet to finish second in the rankings with over 400 runs, including two 50s in addition to that 100. Interestingly, she did so despite hitting only three 6s, compared to Wyatt’s 18 – the joint lowest (with Smriti Mandhana) of any of the top 10 batters.

Rachel Priest, at No. 3, continued to make her case for a New Zealand recall for the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia early next year. It would obviously be a short-term move – Priest is 97 years old. [Ed: I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration, isn’t it?] But if they want to be in with a shout of actually winning the thing, they’d do it!

Just two non-internationals made the top 20 – Holly Armitage and Georgia Adams – though there were four more between 21 and 30: Sophie Luff (23), Emma Lamb (24), Maia Bouchier (29) and Ellie Threlkeld (30). Among the recent batting debutantes things were actually worse, with none of Sophia Dunkley, Bryony Smith or Alice Davidson-Richards even making the top 30. Batting depth remains a continued worry for England and it is hard to look on these numbers and argue that the KSL has really succeeded in its initial aim of “bridging the gap” in that department.

Player Matches Runs SR
1. Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers) 11 466 166.42
2. Jemimah Rodrigues (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 401 149.62
3. Rachel Priest (Western Storm) 11 365 145.41
4. Heather Knight (Western Storm) 11 392 111.36
5. Fran Wilson (Western Storm) 11 298 138.6
6. Mignon du Preez (Loughborough Lightning) 11 267 147.51
7. Smriti Mandhana (Western Storm) 11 268 137.43
8. Amy Jones (Loughborough Lightning) 11 309 114.86
9. Alyssa Healy (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 248 135.51
10. Lizelle Lee (Surrey Stars) 9 213 148.95
11. Sarah Taylor (Surrey Stars) 8 260 120.93
12. Harmanpreet Kaur (Lancashire Thunder) 10 261 113.47
13. Nat Sciver (Surrey Stars) 9 233 120.72
14. Stafanie Taylor (Southern Vipers) 6 205 134.86
15. Tammy Beaumont (Southern Vipers) 11 239 110.64
16. Suzie Bates (Southern Vipers) 11 246 99.19
17. Thalia McGrath (Lancashire Thunder) 10 219 105.28
18. Holly Armitage (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 233 96.28
19. Georiga Adams (Loughborough Lightning) 11 169 113.42
20. Georgia Elwiss (Loughborough Lightning) 10 171 108.91

Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate

NEWS: Venues And Player Selection Process Announced For Women’s Hundred

The ECB have this morning confirmed that the Women’s Hundred teams will be based at different venues to their male counterparts, in an effort to further grow the game outside of the 8 stadia where the men will be playing.

The women’s teams will play one double-header per season alongside the men but otherwise will play at smaller grounds, as follows:

MEN’S VENUE PAIRED WOMEN’S VENUE(S)
Sophia Gardens The Bristol County Ground
The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton
Edgbaston Blackfinch New Road, Worcester
Emerald Headingley York CC
South Northumberland CC
Lord’s The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford
The County Ground, Northampton
Kia Oval The County Ground, Beckenham
Emirates Old Trafford TBC
Trent Bridge The Pattonair County Cricket Ground, Derby
The Fischer County Ground, Leicester
Ageas Bowl The 1st Central County Ground, Hove

This makes sense in the context of the ECB’s strategy of playing England matches at smaller grounds like Chelmsford and Hove which are more likely to fill up. It is also good news for counties like Somerset and Kent, who both lost out in the “bidding” process to run a Hundred franchise, but will this way be represented in the competition by virtue of hosting a women’s side.

However, some of the grounds on the list do not have the capacity to host broadcast facilities, thus confirming that at least some of the matches in the Women’s Hundred will not be televised.

In addition, the ECB have also confirmed that there will NOT be a draft for the women’s competition, but that players will be selected in a two-phase process.

Initially, between September 1 and September 30, each team will sign two centrally contracted England players. Then, between October 1 and May 30, teams will sign their remaining 13 players from across three different player pools – the remaining England Women’s centrally contracted players, overseas players and domestic players.

Each team can sign a maximum of 3 overseas players.

The player selection process is therefore already underway: CRICKETher understands that several England players have already been approached with offers. The first signings should be announced in the next few weeks.

KSL Final: Heather Knight – A Colossus Over Roads

In a Women’s County Championship game earlier this year, Heather Knight was batting for Berkshire on her way to a match-winning century against Wales.

With around 10 overs remaining, the Required Rate was an easily manageable 5-an-over; and out in the middle, Knight was calm and confident – if 5 an over was what was required, 5 an over was what she was getting, and 5-an-over was what she would get!

But there was a problem: rain was threatening, and with Berkshire having lost 7 wickets, Knight figured correctly that they were probably behind on Duckworth-Lewis.

A “drink” was called for and Berkshire’s 12th was duly dispatched to the scorers box to determine exactly how far behind – the answer being around 10.

The following over was bowled by Claire Nicholas – Knight’s teammate at Western Storm, and no mug with the ball either. It went for 13. An over from Gabby Basketter was then sent for 10, before the charge was halted as suddenly as it had begun. With Duckworth-Lewis back in Berkshire’s court, Knight coolly resumed her 5-an-over service to see out the rest of the game towards Berkshire’s inevitable victory in the 48th over.

There is of course a difference between Division 2 of the Women’s County Championship and the Kia Super League Final; but apparently not much of one when you are Heather Knight!

In the 4 year history of the Super League, only one side – Yorkshire Diamonds last week against Southern Vipers – has ever successfully chased more than 172. (Though oddly, exactly 172 has now been chased 3 times.) But what’s history when you are Heather Knight? What’s 9-an-over, as the ask was at one stage?

Finishing on 78* off 53 balls, Knight made the KSL Final look like a picnic in the park, wrapping things up with a 4 off the last ball of the 19th over. She had help from Deepti Sharma at the back-end of the innings – her 39 not out was useful – but you got the impression that if Deepti had been 29 not out… or even 9… Knight would have still got her side over the line just the same.

It feels appropriate that in this final final, Knight became the only batsman to clock-up 1,000 runs in the KSL. Over these 4 years, she hasn’t ever been Player of the Tournament, she hasn’t made a century, and she’s a long way down the “Most Sixes” chart.

But what she has been is consistent, not just on a road at Hove, but on every other road too – like a Colossus over Roads, match after match, season after season, Heather Knight has bestrode the Super League.

The KSL has been her tournament.

The trophy has been her trophy.

And now, deservedly, she gets to keep it for ever.