The women's all-time T20I XI

Big hitters, big wicket-takers - what else do you need?

Melinda Farrell

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Women's cricket, long known for its strokeplay and deftness, was not left untouched by T20's viral effects, especially since the format was considered the best way to promote the women's game. In fact, the first international T20 was played between England and New Zealand women in August 2004, six months before men took to the format. So power-hitting was a happy fallout as a generation of women was introduced to T20, often playing their matches as curtain-raisers to the men's games. And our women's T20 XI of the last 25 years (though really, it's an all-time XI) showcases that - Suzie Bates, Stafanie Taylor, Deandra Dottin and Ellyse Perry can easily ratchet up a 200-plus total among themselves. So deep is the batting that allrounder Sophie Devine, who normally bats four or higher for New Zealand, is at No. 8 here. She can also chip in with the ball, as can Bates, to support fast bowler Anya Shrubsole and spinners Holly Colvin and Anisa Mohammed.

Five players received unanimous votes, three got four votes each, two got three and one was tied (see sidebar for jury and method).

1. Charlotte Edwards (c)

Charlotte Edwards was there for the start of the T20 revolution. As women's Tests are such a rarity, T20 has perhaps been a more significant new format for the international women's game than the men's equivalent, and Edwards embraced the emphasis on faster scoring and captaincy under pressure. She has more runs (2605) and has captained more matches (93) than any other player - man or woman - in T20Is.

Did you know? Edwards was named Player of the tournament in the 2012 Women's World T20.

2605 runs at 106.93 SR from 95 matches (Ave 32.97); Best: 92 not out; 12 fifties

2. Suzie Bates

As a precociously talented basketballer - she represented New Zealand at the 2008 Beijing Olympics - it's no surprise that Bates would excel in the cricket format that emphasises athleticism, power, speed and entertainment. That's not to dismiss her outstanding record in ODIs; Bates is an allrounder in every sense. While her effective medium-pace bowling is a key part of New Zealand's attack, it is Bates' power-hitting that often does the most damage. In the 2014 Women's World T20, her unbeaten 94 off 61 balls against Pakistan was the highest score by a New Zealander in women's T20Is. Along with Edwards, she has won the most Player-of-the-Match awards - seven in total - in women's T20 games. Basketball's loss has been cricket's gain.

Did you know? Bates has made more runs for New Zealand in T20Is than any other woman (2452) and is their second-highest wicket-taker (with 48) in the format.

2515 runs at 108.21 SR from 96 matches (Ave 28.90); Best: 94 not out; 17 fifties

3. Meg Lanning

It's hard to find enough superlatives to describe Lanning's batting at its best. She combines a solid technique with power, finesse, timing and control, scoring aggressively all around the ground. She is outstanding in all formats but in T20 she can single-handedly clobber the opposition into submission. A few months after becoming the youngest ever captain of an Australian side, at 21, Lanning led her charges to their third Women's World T20 title. She finished the tournament as the leading run scorer, helped by an astonishing innings in which she smashed 126 off 65 balls against Ireland; it remains the highest individual score in women's T20Is. She leads the way when it comes to the new breed of professional female players.

Did you know? Lanning has made more runs than any other woman in T20Is since the start of 2014, with a total of 1319 at an average of 43.96.

2105 runs at 118.65 SR from 74 matches (Ave 34.5); Best: 126; 1 hundred and 11 fifties

4. Stafanie Taylor

It was in the T20 format that Taylor blazed her way into the international arena as a precocious 17-year-old, when she belted 90 off 49 balls on debut against Ireland. While she has yet to best that score in T20Is, she regularly contributes with her powerful striking and useful offspin. Her finest moment came a year into her captaincy, when she led West Indies to the 2016 Women's World T20 title, beating the favourites, Australia, in the final. Taylor made 59 in that match and finished as the Player of the Tournament for her eight wickets and 246 runs.

Did you know? Taylor's all-round skills make her a valuable addition to any line-up. The difference between her batting average (37.42) and her bowling average (17.70) is the best among allrounders who have scored more than 500 runs and taken more than 25 wickets.

Batting: 2582 runs at 37.42 Ave from 84 matches; Best: 90; 20 fifties
Bowling: 68 wickets at 17.70 Ave; Best: 3 for 10

5. Deandra Dottin

Another strong West Indies allrounder. Dottin's raw power was first seen during the 2009 Women's World T20, where she blasted a 22-ball 50 against Australia, the fastest women's T20I half-century at that point. But that was just the warm-up act. A year later, during a World T20 match against South Africa, she smashed an incredible 38-ball century - the first T20 hundred in the women's game, and still the fastest. Her bowling has evolved and improved with age, and she took nine wickets during West Indies victorious 2016 World T20 campaign, including - crucially - two in the final against a fancied Australia.

Did you know? During a T20I against Sri Lanka in 2017, Dottin scored 112 runs out of West Indies total of 159. Her contribution of 70.44% of the total runs is the highest in any completed T20I innings.

Batting: 2039 runs at 25.81 Ave from 98 matches; Best: 112 not out; 2 hundreds and 9 fifties
Bowling: 45 wickets at 18.71; Econ 6.12; Best: 4 for 12

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6. Ellyse Perry

Perry left no one in doubt of her all-round match-winning abilities when, on her T20I debut, she scored an unbeaten 29 and then took four wickets to secure Australia a victory over England. Often at her most dangerous in clutch situations during big tournaments, she produced another winning performance in the 2010 Women's World T20 final, against New Zealand in the Caribbean. She took three wickets in a tight chase, and after bowling the final delivery, with New Zealand needing four runs to force a Super Over, she stuck out her boot to prevent Sophie Devine's straight drive from reaching the boundary, the dual-international's finely honed soccer skills securing a glorious victory.

Did you know? Perry is the only woman to make a fifty and take four wickets in a T20I. She scored an unbeaten 55 and took 4 for 12 against India in 2016.

Bowling: 84 wickets at 20.40 Ave from 90 matches; Econ: 5.87; Best: 4 for 12
Batting: 874 runs at 104.04 SR (Ave 25.73); Best: 55 not out; 3 fifties

7. Sarah Taylor (wk)

Batting at first drop and keeping wicket means that Taylor has been in the thick of things since she made her T20I debut against India in 2006. She is an elegant timer rather than a raw biffer of the ball, and she has been remarkably consistent in making significant scores in the format. Taylor has made 50-plus scores on 15 occasions in T20Is - the third highest by any woman. She has 47 stumpings to her name in T20Is - the most, by any man or woman, by some margin.

Did you know? Taylor's all-round contributions led to her being named the ICC Women's T20I Cricketer of the Year in both 2012 and 2013.

Batting: 2091 runs at 29.45 Ave from 84 matches (SR 109.76); Best: 77; fifties: 15
Keeping: 22 catches, 7 stumpings

8. Sophie Devine

What is it with female cricketers who represent their country in another sport? Overachieving much? Like with Bates and Perry, Devine's natural athleticism and dedication have seen her represent New Zealand in hockey as well as in cricket. Originally Devine was considered a right-arm pacer who was handy with the bat, but over time her batting has developed to the point where she can be one of the most explosive hitters in the game. She proved as much during a match against India in 2015, when she clubbed 50 runs off just 18 balls to become the record holder for the quickest half-century in WT20Is.

Did you know? Devine is one of only two allrounders to have made 1000 runs and taken 50 wickets in Women's T20Is.

Batting: 1418 runs at 25.32 Ave from 68 matches (SR 121.19); Best: 70; 4 fifties
Bowling: 65 wickets at 15.92; Econ: 5.88; Best: 4 for 22

9. Holly Colvin

Fifteen-year-old Colvin was bowling in the nets to England players ahead of their first Ashes Test against Australia in 2006 when she was snapped up and dropped straight into the national team, becoming the youngest man or woman to play a Test for England. She went on to excel with her left-arm spin in all formats and was the leading wicket-taker, with nine wickets, in the inaugural Women's World T20 in 2009. An example of the sacrifices many women made to represent their country without significant financial reward, Colvin retired at the age of 26, before the game became fully professional, and now works for the ICC.

Did you know? Colvin could always be relied on to chime in with wickets; in all, she took 63 for England in 50 T20Is.

63 wickets at 15.41 from 50 matches; Econ: 5.19; Best: 4 for 9

10. Anya Shrubsole

For many new fans of the women's game, the iconic image of Shrubsole is in the one-day format: arms spread wide, head thrown back, roaring with unbridled passion after taking the final wicket to win the World Cup for England at Lord's in 2017. But with her considerable skill in swinging the ball both ways - and particularly her searingly accurate inswinging yorker - Shrubsole has been one of T20's most dominant bowlers since she first donned England colours. In her debut T20I for England, against South Africa in 2008, she took 3 for 19 in a Player-of-the-Match performance. Four years later she claimed 5 for 11 against New Zealand, still the best figures for an England bowler in women's T20Is. If there were any doubts remaining over her impact, they were dismissed during her Player-of-the-Tournament turn at the 2014 World T20, where she took 13 wickets at the phenomenal average of 7.53.

Did you know? Shrubsole is currently the second highest wicket-taker in Women's World T20s with a total of 26 wickets at an average of 13.03.

68 wickets at 13.66 from 49 matches; Econ: 5.61; Best: 5 for 11

Anisa Mohammed

Mohammed's rise to the top was quicker than that of most. She started playing cricket when she was 14 years old, and just a year later, in 2003, she made her debut for West Indies. The talented offspinner enjoyed the slower wickets of India and Pakistan, where she toured in 2004 with great success in the shorter format and she has been a valuable part of West Indies' bowling line-up ever since. With 94 matches under her belt, Mohammed is the only bowler to take 100 wickets in women's T20Is, and the only one with two five-fors in the format.

Did you know? Mohammed has taken four or more wickets in a match six times in her career, which is the most in Women's T20Is.

107 wickets at 16.22 from 94 matches; Econ: 5.39; Best: 5 for 10

All statistics are for the period March 1, 1993 to December 31, 2017

Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo