Australia allrounder Ellyse Perry’s rich vein of form has stunned opposition sides during the 2017 Women’s World Cup, but it isn’t the first time the superstar has hit such a prolific purple patch.
Perry’s five consecutive half-centuries between Australia’s matches against New Zealand and South Africa in the tournament have been nothing short of remarkable, even though the allrounder has achieved the feat not just once but twice previously in her career.
As recently as September last year, Perry compiled another series of five-straight half-centuries, finishing unbeaten in Australia’s final match against Sri Lanka in Colombo before compiling 50 or more in each of the four matches she played against South Africa in Canberra and Coffs Harbour.
Scores of 77*, 93*, 95*, 69 and 56 ensured Australia went through those matches undefeated, with Perry named player of the match in two of those fixtures.
That run came after a period against England and the West Indies in 2014-15 where she added a career-high six-straight half-centuries, and a further 11 from 14 matches to catapult herself to second on the ICC ODI batting rankings, marginally behind Aussie captain Meg Lanning.
Her third separate streak of five or more consecutive fifties, completed on Saturday, means she's the first player in ODI history, male or female, to achieve the feat.
Former England captain Charlotte Edwards scored five consecutive half-centuries twice in her career, a feat that has been matched in the men's game by current India skipper Virat Kohli and his Kiwi rival Kane Williamson.
And with two matches left in the tournament, Perry even has the all-time women's record of India's Mithali Raj (seven consecutive fifties) in her sights. For the record, the overall mark is the nine straight fifties scored by Pakistan's Javed Miandad in 1987.
Below is a summary of Perry's most recent contributions in the Women’s World Cup ahead of Australia’s semi-final clash with India in Derby.
71 (91) vs New Zealand – With two unbeaten knocks to her name in Australia's opening two victories prior to her encounter with the White Ferns, Perry entered the crease in unfamiliar territory with the match still to be won. Entering at 2-72 with Lanning at the other end, Perry was calculated, taking 23 balls to register her first boundary and then another 44 for the next. She delivered what the situation called for and was patient in working singles to give Lanning the opportunity to aggressively attack. Her stay came to the end with one run to get but the job well and truly done.
66 (97) vs Pakistan – At the unfamiliar first-drop position due to the withdrawal of Lanning, Perry found herself in the fray on just the third ball of the innings and duly made the most of an extended stay at the crease. Her innings was forged out of 156 hard fought minutes and just five boundaries, cashing in as Elyse Villani (59) scored the second fastest half-century in Women’s World Cup history. She was the highest contributor in Australia’s 8-290 – their highest total of the World Cup campaign – and departed in the 42nd over as her side chased quick runs.
70 (86) vs England – Chasing 259, Perry was kept at No.3 ahead of Lanning and was more attacking in her knock than previous innings. She blasted four boundaries and two sixes, targeting the spin of Danni Hazell and showing her intent in the middle overs. Perry and the skipper combined for a 57-run stand before Lanning was bowled against the run of play, leaving it all for the allrounder and the lower order to do. She continued to find the gaps but her wicket in the 47th over – caught on the longest point of the Bristol boundary – dealt a huge blow to Australia’s chances, eventually going down by three runs on the final delivery.
60* (67) vs India – An opportunity to regroup after the England loss presented itself and each of Australia’s top four cashed in, with Perry intent on finding the rope from the outset. Chasing a modest 226, the allrounder wasn’t required until the score reached 2-103, and even then she continued the momentum on without a missed step. Once again Perry and her captain combined for a century stand, targeting each sector of the vast Bristol expanses, and finished unbeaten in passing the score with 29 balls remaining to secure Australia's spot in the semi finals.
55 (58) vs South Africa – With their play-offs spot locked away, Australia faced an in-form Proteas side in their final group-stage clash. Perry once again featured heavily in Australia’s total of 269, joining Beth Mooney (53) and Nicole Bolton (79) as half-century makers. It was her fastest 50 of the tournament as she plundered seven boundaries and a six in her 58-ball stay at the crease before she was removed in the 41st over after chipping a simple catch to mid-wicket.
Women's World Cup Guide
Australia World Cup squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (vc), Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (c), Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.