THE HUNDRED: Bowling Rankings – Wellington Fills Her Boots Again

For the second year in succession, Southern Brave leg-spinner Amanda Jade Wellington tops our bowling rankings in The Hundred, with 14 wickets at 1.22 runs per ball – one of four leggies in the top 10, with Alana King coming in at 4, Amelia Kerr at 6 and Katie Levick at 10.

In contrast to our Batting Rankings, where 80% of the top 10 were overseas stars, the top 10 bowlers are 70% England-qualified, with only 5 overseas in the top 20, just two of whom are not leg-spinners – Sophie Molineux at 13, and Megan Schutt at 20.

Amanda Jade Wellington has been outstanding as a wicket-taking option once again, though she has been a tad more expensive in terms of economy than she was last year – last season she ranked 4th in the top 20 for economy; this year she’s 13th. As a key part of Brave’s success, the really interesting question is whether they can afford to keep her next season on a third-tier salary, or whether someone else will tempt her away with more money elsewhere? (The players earning first and second-tier salaries above her at Brave are all ones you’d want to keep too – Wyatt, Smriti, Dunkley and Shrubsole.)

Em Arlott is one of three uncapped England prospects in the top 10, and sneaks into second place above Lauren Bell thanks to her superior economy rate. Having been included in England’s Test squad v India in 2021 but not made the XI, Arlott was even more unfortunate this year when the after-effects of Covid ruled her out of contention for the Test against South Africa. At 24 she’s coming to her peak, taking wickets and maintaining a good economy rate – she might not have the hype of certain other players, or the reputation of others, but she’s performing on the pitch where it matters, and on form she really should be in the T20 squad for the India series and the World Cup.

The other two England prospects are both Invincibles players, and a key part of why Invincibles were able to maintain their bowling levels this season, despite Marizanne Kapp having to sit out of half their group-stage matches. Eva Gray is perhaps the most interesting. Though only 22 the seamer has been around the Surrey setup for a long time, but has been viewed as a useful domestic player and nothing more – she doesn’t have a contract at South East Stars –  but by keeping it simple, sticking to her strengths and not trying to bowl at 80mph, she has been pretty handy this season, and is perhaps a prospect for another region to swoop in for her if Stars can’t find a contract for her next year.

The other England prospect in the top 10 is the year’s surprise package – 17-year-old left-arm orthodox spinner Sophia Smale, who only came into the Invincibles squad as a last minute injury replacement for Emma Jones. Smale has excelled with the ball, opening the bowling on several occasions, and in the field where her speed across the ground from a standing start allows her to take catches others wouldn’t get near. Handing out a medal to Smale at a junior tournament a few years ago, Sophie Ecclestone once joked that she could be coming for her England spot one day, and while Ecclestone is probably safe for the moment… being the world’s top-ranked bowler in both white-ball formats… if Smale continues to work hard on her game, a regional contract and eventually an England one, are surely in the offing.

Player Played Wickets Economy
1. Amanda Jade Wellington (Brave) 6 14 1.22
2. Emily Arlott (Phoenix) 6 9 0.93
3. Lauren Bell (Brave) 6 10 1.13
4. Alana King (Rockets) 6 7 0.85
5. Eva Gray (Invincibles) 6 7 0.97
6. Amelia Kerr (Spirit) 6 9 1.29
7. Sophia Smale (Invincibles) 6 7 1.01
8. Bryony Smith (Rockets) 6 7 1.02
9. Sophie Ecclestone (Originals) 6 8 1.17
10. Katie Levick (Superchargers) 6 6 0.97
11. Alice Capsey (Invincibles) 5 6 1.09
12. Georgia Adams (Brave) 6 6 1.10
13. Sophie Molineux (Phoenix) 6 5 0.97
14. Claire Nicholas (Fire) 6 6 1.24
15. Mady Villiers (Invincibles) 6 6 1.30
16. Alice Davidson-Richards (Superchargers) 6 7 1.57
17. Georgia Elwiss (Phoenix) 6 6 1.36
18. Anya Shrubsole (Brave) 6 5 1.16
19. Kate Cross (Originals) 6 5 1.23
20. Megan Schutt (Spirit) 6 5 1.25

Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy