Women's World T20 2018
Run-fests exciting sign for World T20: Healy
As run-scoring records continue to be smashed in women's T20Is, Alyssa Healy and Alex Blackwell are excited by what they're seeing
22 June 2018, 01:19 PM AEST
The record-breaking antics of England and New Zealand in a T20I run-fest in Taunton on Wednesday is an exciting sign ahead of November’s Women’s World T20 in the Caribbean, Australia wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy says.
In a T20I double-header, New Zealand broke Australia’s record for the highest total in a women’s T20, amassing 1-216 against South Africa.
Then, the hapless Proteas bowlers were put to the sword again by England later the same day, as a Tammy Beaumont century helped the hosts post an incredible 3-250.
Australia had broken the previous record of 1-205 – scored by South Africa against the Netherlands in 2010 – when they struck 4-209 against England in a tri-series final in India in March.
With the record broken three times in as many months, Healy is excited about what’s to come.
“I didn’t see the games, I just saw the scores but it’s getting ridiculous,” Healy told cricket.com.au.
“It’s exciting for the World T20, crash and bash seems to be what everyone wants to see and that seems to be happening at the moment.”
Five of the top six highest team totals have been scored since the start of March, as have six of the top nine individual scores.
There’s a similar trend in match aggregates; the top six ever, and eight of the top 11, have come in the past 12 months.
Over the same period, the average winning total in women’s T20Is has been 141.59 – well up on the previous four years, where the average sat between 118.35 and 124.04.
In the last 12 months - 141.59 12 months before that - 118.90 12 months before that - 124.04 12 months before that - 114.91 12 months before that - 118.35— hypocaust (@_hypocaust) June 20, 2018
Between the first ever T20I in 2004 and last September, only three T20I centuries were scored by women. Since last October, five players – Deandra Dottin, Beth Mooney, Suzie Bates, Beaumont and Danni Wyatt (twice) - have added six more.
Short boundaries, batter-friendly pitches and a rule change last year to allow only four fielders outside the circle in non-powerplay overs have all contributed to rapidly increasing scores in women’s T20Is.
But Healy believes the growing professionalism of the game is the driving force behind the change, with players able to train longer and harder than ever before.
“I guess (scoring 250) was always plausible with the size of the grounds we tend to play on and the wickets we’re playing on nowadays and with four fielders out,” she said.
“But it’s gone above and beyond what people thought could happen.
“Three times (this year) is remarkable.
“It shows how far the game has come along, a lot of these teams have been training professionally for the last little bit.
“Now it’s all coming together and creating pretty dynamic cricket.”
Healy’s comments are backed up by statistics from the past 12 months, which saw the countries with full-time, professional players leading the way when it comes to average T20I run rates.
Australia sit atop the charts, averaging 8.50 runs per over in eight matches, followed by New Zealand (8.42) and England (8.29).
And while Healy isn’t sure anyone will be breaking England’s 250 mark anytime soon, she also won’t rule anything out.
Given the performances in the past 12 months, anything could be possible by the time Australia host the 2020 edition of the World T20.
“I’d love to say yes (we could beat it) but I don’t anticipate scoring 260 in a T20 anytime soon,” Healy said.
“I think that record might stay for a little bit longer, but it has changed three times the last few months!”
Former Australia vice-captain Alex Blackwell is also excited by what she sees, and doesn’t believe the balance has tipped too far in favour of batters yet, with the top bowlers still able to adapt.
HUGE runs scored at Taunton overnight in two international T20s. It’s an amazing batting track.. and you still have to hit the runs... just wondering about balance btw bat and ball. Feeling for the bowlers. Are these high scoring games appealing to the audiences @AlisonMitchell ? https://t.co/ZP4sgzLx8g— Alex Blackwell (@AlexBlackwell2) June 20, 2018
This was evident at Taunton, when England spearhead Anya Shrubsole produced two maidens, while Australia pace bowler Megan Schutt emerged as player of the T20I tri-series in India in March, taking nine wickets at 12.33, with an economy rate of 6.28 in a series where the average run rate was 8.19.
“I’m not there watching it, but I know Taunton is a wonderful place to bat so I wasn’t too surprised there were high scores at that venue,” Blackwell told cricket.com.au.
“But I did ask the question (about balance) on Twitter and the responses were that it was wonderful placement, and there were some exceptional bowling performances among the epic bat-fest.
“By the sounds of it there is still a reasonable contest. But it is something to be mindful of.”
The World T20 will be played in Guyana, St Lucia and Antigua this November, and Healy isn’t sure what to expect from a region that can produce lower, slower wickets than those seen in places like Australia and the United Kingdom.
“It will be interesting to see how all the big-hitting batters go in different conditions,” Healy said.
“I’m not too sure what (pitches) we’ll get, traditionally some wickets get over there are batter friendly and some are subcontinent-like.
“We’ll have to wait and see, we’re playing in a few new places we haven’t played in before.
“We’ll go into it thinking they’ll probably be a bit low and slow especially at the back end of the tournament, but if they’re batter friendly, then yeeha!”
Australia will host New Zealand in three T20Is before they head to the World T20, with matches at North Sydney Oval (September 29), Allan Border Field (October 1) and Manuka Oval (October 5). Tickets go on sale in August.
Commonwealth Bank T20I series v NZ
September 29: First T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 1: Second T20I, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
October 5: Third T20I, Manuka Oval, Canberra
Commonwealth Bank ODI series v NZ
February 22: First ODI, WACA Ground, Perth
February 24: Second ODI, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
March 3: Third ODI, Junction Oval, Melbourne