#CWC22 Batting Rankings – Hungry Like The Wolv

Laura Wolvaardt wouldn’t be a professional cricketer if she was English. Instead, she’d be in her final year at medical school, having been told aged 18 that talk of playing for England was premature, and she needed to graft away in domestic cricket for a few years first – the same things people are currently saying about Alice Capsey.

But she isn’t English, and aged 22 – a year younger than Sophia Dunkley – with over 100 caps on her head, she’s topping the batting rankings at a World Cup for South Africa.

Wolvaardt is not one of the 9 batters to have made a century in New Zealand this month, but she has been remarkably consistent, with 5 half-centuries in 7 matches at an average of 62. (The only player with a better average is Beth Mooney, who has been not out 5 times for an average of 113.)

Meg Lanning at number 2 has been less consistent, with 3 big scores, including a tournament-best 135* against South Africa, but 3 single-figure scores, including two ducks; proving that you get Meg Lanning early… or you don’t get her at all!

England’s highest-ranked batter is Nat Sciver, who has had a slightly odd few months. She’s making runs by the hatful, but she’s not converting those runs into wins for England. If you want to rule the world as a middle-order batter, you need to be there at the end – hence all those Not Outs by Beth Mooney’s name – but Sciver’s one Not Out score at this World Cup came when she wasn’t able to quite drag England over the line in the game against Australia; and otherwise she’s been dismissed with the job half done a little too often for a player of her class. (To be fair… effectively batting at “3” so much recently, due to the repeated failures of first Winfield-Hill and then Wyatt when opening, probably hasn’t helped.)

As alluded to earlier, Sophia Dunkley – who falls just outside the top 10 – is “what might have been” vis-à-vis the way South Africa handled Wolvaardt. She was given a brief chance in the T20 format aged 20, but quickly discarded when she didn’t instantly turn into the next Meg Lanning, and then didn’t make her ODI debut until she was older than Wolvaardt is today. It’s only now that she’s really starting to find her feet, aged 23, with her 67 against Pakistan being perhaps the first time she has looked like she genuinely believes she belongs at this level.

One interesting more general phenomena is that Strike Rates are slightly down on 2017. The top 20 leading run-scorers in 2017 averaged a Strike Rate of 83; but in 2022 that’s down to 80 – lower than it was in 2013, when it averaged 81. It’s a bit marginal to suggest there’s a trend down here, but what’s striking (or… not striking!!) is that there isn’t a trend up either, despite this being the most professional tournament yet.

Player Played Runs Strike Rate
1. Laura Wolvaardt 7 433 78
2. Meg Lanning 7 358 87
3. Harmanpreet Kaur 7 318 92
4. Rachael Haynes 7 344 84
5. Sophie Devine 7 309 91
6. Smriti Mandhana 7 327 78
7. Nat Sciver 7 273 83
8. Suzie Bates 7 255 88
9. Beth Mooney 7 225 90
10. Hayley Matthews 7 226 82
11. Sophia Dunkley 7 209 87
12. Alyssa Healy 7 210 85
13. Sune Luus 7 249 71
14. Marizanne Kapp 7 182 95
15. Amelia Kerr 7 201 80
16. Tammy Beaumont 7 243 64
17. Pooja Vastrakar 7 156 99
18. Chloe Tryon 7 133 106
19. Danni Wyatt 7 138 99
20. Deandra Dottin 7 165 79

7 thoughts on “#CWC22 Batting Rankings – Hungry Like The Wolv

  1. Interesting! Knowing your love of statistics…I’m sure you have the top 20 run totals from 2017…are they higher or lower than 2022?( I feel lower?).I prefer/ admire how Wolvaardt has amassed her runs, as it’s led to winning results….wish England had someone doing the same! I compare it to golf…1 excellent round rarely wins a tournament of 4 rounds, but 4 very good rounds often lead to lifting a trophy.

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    • I don’t quite have apples and apples in terms of absolute numbers – sorry – because the only absolute numbers I have for 2013/17 include the semis and final. Syd

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  2. I wonder if the Strike Rate decline is at least in part due to the tournament being mid/late March in NZ? And it’s been a wet March too.

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  3. How do you work out the average strike rate? Is that a weighted-average by runs? Just looking at the list there, not many below 80 so thought it might be higher.

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  4. I think the conditions have played a big part, it’s been pretty damp (and windy!) at times (like the England/NZ game!) and a lot of the pitches have been green-tops yielding early wickets or slow and low turners giving the spinners an advantage. Also the Bubble-factor plays into it I believe – a few players feeling the effects of long tours, quarantines etc. which is a factor now but was completely absent in 2017. Beaumont has scored a fair few runs this comp but has not looked quite her fluent self, and that’s reflected in her strike rate. Same to a lesser extent for Mandhana.

    Regarding the Capsey/Dunkley/Wolvaardt thing Syd, you’re assuming they all have equal talent in the first place, we don’t know that. Wolvaardt has always been one of the best and best looking natural off-side players in the world, a definite advantage. Leg side hitting is an important but more common ability. Not starting players quite so young is a common feature of England teams – and has its advantages and disadvantages. Starting in an international team too young can lead to burnout and disillusionment if it doesn’t work out early on, and the player isn’t managed correctly.

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    • Sometimes teams are forced to take players to international level early due to lack of numbers – not sure if that was the issue for SA, but it has certainly happened too much in NZ. The player might have talent, but then the pressure can be too much for a young player (might it have contributed to Amelia Kerr’s challenges?)

      NZ screwed up their campaign with their selections of youth/potential (Jonas and Plimmer over Kasperek and Ebrahim). To be fair those were obvious mistakes as the former pair didn’t have a record like Capsey’s. (Yet a selector tried to justify the choices …)

      It can work, but there has been too much haste to debut players in the past. Straight after a World Cup might be the ideal time, ‘relatively’ less pressure.

      And there is the contrasting inclination to give proven performers more time at the end of their careers – maybe too much, looking at this World Cup. But as ‘Hitting against the spin’ found, the 3 keys to World Cup success are 1) A winning record; 2) Batting strength; and 3) Experience (total caps). That would tend to suggest erring on the side of caution in selecting debutants

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