With strike rates climbing to unprecedented heights, who’d be a bowler in 2022? Only 3 players bowled 10+ overs and finished the season with an economy rate of under 5 (Georgia Adams, Kalea Moore and Emma Marlow) and some top players had their numbers hammered, as the likes of Bess Heath and Marie Kelly went on the kind of powerplay onslaughts which members of the Bowlers’ Union might think should be illegal under the Geneva Convention!
Back in top spot this time is the one and only Katie Levick. Commentators tend to throw the term “legend” around like plates at a Greek wedding, but if any domestic player ever deserved it, it’s Levick, who finished the tournament with 15 wickets, including a 5fer against Vipers.
Levick isn’t ever going to play for England though – no matter how much fans call for it – and a big part of the reason for that is the emergence of Charlie Dean, who comes in at No. 2 with 10 wickets and exactly 5.0 – the (joint) 4th best economy rate in the competition. In less than a year, Dean has gone from amateur to England star, and it will be a huge surprise if she isn’t selected for the Test against South Africa in a couple of weeks time.
One of two brand-new names to break into the Top 10 is Emma Marlow – the 18-year-old offie from Yorkshire, who made her debut this season. Her first game against Lightning included the wickets of both Tammy Beaumont, bowled middle stump by a quicker delivery that almost swung in the air, and then dipped sharply as the England opener tried to sweep; and Kathryn Bryce, also bowled but by a completely different ball that was given enough air to tempt the batter into a big swing, and then died off the pitch to take out off stump.
Meanwhile down at the opposite end of the country, another teenager – 17-year-old quick Freya Kemp – has been tearing it up for Vipers, opening the bowling for the south coast side. Given the hidings handed out to bowlers during the powerplays in this tournament, her numbers are particularly impressive – 8 wickets at an economy rate of 6.3. Kemp hasn’t yet got the pace of Lauren Bell, or that lethal “killer ball” which Bell has, but she has been very consistent for a young quick, and is definitely one to keep an eye on.
|1. Katie Levick (Northern Diamonds)||6||15||6.8|
|2. Charlie Dean (Southern Vipers)||4||10||5.0|
|3. Sarah Glenn (Central Sparks)||6||8||5.1|
|4. Hannah Jones (Thunder)||6||9||6.2|
|5. Linsey Smith (Northern Diamonds)||6||8||5.6|
|6. Emma Marlow (Northern Diamonds)||5||7||4.9|
|7. Georgia Elwiss (Southern Vipers)||5||7||5.4|
|8. Freya Kemp (Southern Vipers)||6||8||6.3|
|9. Kalea Moore (South East Stars)||6||6||4.8|
|10. Kelly Castle (Sunrisers)||6||7||5.7|
|11. Hannah Baker (Central Sparks)||6||7||5.9|
|12. Claire Nicholas (Western Storm)||5||6||5.3|
|13. Grace Potts (Central Sparks)||5||9||8.1|
|14. Alex Hartley (Thunder)||6||6||5.8|
|15. Piepa Cleary (Lightning)||5||7||6.9|
|16. Bryony Smith (South East Stars)||6||7||6.9|
|17. Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)||2||5||5.0|
|18. Grace Scrivens (Sunrisers)||6||7||7.6|
|19. Emily Arlott (Central Sparks)||6||6||6.9|
|20. Anya Shrubsole (Southern Vipers)||5||4||5.0|
I’ve been incredibly impressed with Kalea Moore and Freya Kemp who both seem to have it all – batting, bowling and fielding. They could turn out to be great all-rounders. Also the other Jones – Emma Jones of the Stars – a lot of potential with her as well. Strikes the ball very well and seems to have a real bit of pace with her bowling. All 3 are prospects to look out for.