Women's bowling performance of the year February 25, 2019

Nat finds her rhythm

Natalie Sciver's three wickets and 20 dot balls helped book England's berth in the World T20 semi-final

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Natalie Sciver
3 for 4 v South Africa, World T20


At the World T20 in the Caribbean, Sciver wasn't meant to be England's first-choice new-ball partner for Anya Shrubsole. But a lated injury to Katherine Brunt and a reworked follow-through in the lead-in to the tournament meant she was ready for the step up.

On a sluggish track, she fired in 20 dot balls across three spells as South Africa made heavy weather of their second innings in a row, folding for 85. The carnage began with opener Lizelle Lee caught lbw in Sciver's second over. Marizanne Kapp and captain Dane van Niekerk weathered the onslaught in Sciver's third, scoring two off it. But by the time Sciver returned for her final burst, South Africa had slumped to 79 for 5.

Sciver got rid of Chloe Tryon and Faye Tunnicliffe in a searing double-wicket maiden, the 18th over of the innings, to finish with figures of 4-1-4-3, while Shrubsole returned for a hat-trick in the final over. The pair's combined 6 for 15 sent South Africa crashing out in the league phase for the second straight time in a world tournament.

Nat Sciver's rampage began in the second over, with the wicket of Lizelle Lee © Getty Images

Key moment

Opener Lee, Sciver's team-mate at Surrey Stars in the KSL, has by Sciver's own admission earned a reputation for "whacking" her in the nets. But facing up to her Stars captain in Gros Islet, Lee played out four dots before getting off the mark with a single in the first over. Sciver briefly exited the attack while Lee laboured to 12 off 25. But the former's studied pace and swing proved too much for Lee, who failed to add another run to her tally and went on to be plumb in front to a straight-ish full delivery when Sciver resumed her bowling duties in the eighth over..

The numbers


3 for 4 The joint most-economical three-for in the World T20. Sciver shares the tally with England offspinner Danielle Hazelle, who got hers against Bangladesh in the 2014 edition.

3 Number of World T20 three-fors taken by Sciver, a joint second with Holly Colvin for England women; Anya Shrubsole leads overall with four.

What they said

"I think [she] showed it out there today [how] to bowl with the new ball, come back in the middle and bowl at the end. She's got it all, really."
- England vice-captain Anya Shrubsole

The closest contenders

Rumana Ahmed, 2 for 22 v India, T20 Asia Cup final
In Bangladesh's breakout year, Ahmed finished atop the team's T20I wickets chart, with 30. Two of them, fetched across two parsimonious spells in this match against India, crowned Bangladesh's highest point of 2018: their maiden Asia Cup title.

Deandra Dottin, 5 for 5 v Bangladesh, World T20
She came, she bowled with blistering speed on a pitch bereft of pace, getting rid of four batsmen, grabbed a return catch, and left with career- and tournament-best figures.

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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