There’s never a great time to bowl to Meg Lanning. But spare a thought for the poor souls who crossed her path in October last year.
The Australian skipper was disappointed with her individual output during her team’s undefeated tour of Sri Lanka in September, where she scored 107 runs at 35.6 across four innings.
Lanning isn’t one to suffer such lean returns – at least, by her lofty standards – and she was in a particularly destructive mood when the Women’s National Cricket League got underway one month later, plundering 359 runs at 119.66 in four innings for Victoria in the 50-over format.
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She played just four of her state’s six matches due to international duties, but it was enough to finish 37 runs clear of her nearest rival Beth Mooney (whose runs came in seven innings) on the WNCL runs table and be named Player of the Tournament.
That, combined with her efforts in the first edition of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League last summer, have seen the 24-year-old voted by her peers as the inaugural Domestic Player of the Year.
Introduced this year, the women's Domestic Player of the Year Award is given to an outstanding cricketer across the WNCL and WBBL during the award period, which this year ran from 5 December 2015 to 4 December 2016.
The award was voted for by Australian-based international, state and WBBL-contracted players, gathered and tallied by the Australian Cricketers’ Asssociation, with players unable to vote for a player from their own state.
Lanning started the 2016 WNCL season with an unbeaten 107 that led Victoria to a nine-wicket win over the ACT, following up with 60 against Western Australia one day later.
Her third innings produced her one blemish of the tournament when she was dismissed for two by up-and-coming South Australia leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington.
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She more than made up for it just one day later at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena, smashing 190 off just 153 balls to break her own previous record for the highest score in the tournament’s 21-year history.
"I was disappointed after Sri Lanka to not make any big scores," Lanning said following her Hobart ton.
"So I was keen to really go on with it if I got the chance in the domestic season, really go on with it and make some big scores.”
Lanning scored a total of 919 runs at 70.69 in WBBL and WNCL matches across the voting period.
The period covers WBBL|01, where the Melbourne Stars skipper finished as the tournament’s top scorer with 560 runs at 56.00.
She finished 98 runs clear of second-highest scorer Charlotte Edwards and her tournament included five half-centuries and a top score of 90 as she compiled her runs at a strike-rate of 113.82.