Women's team lights up Brazilian cricket

Tony Munro

A car proceeds along the road adjacent to the huge rectangular expanse of green that is the Esplanada, a seemingly a giant traffic island in the middle of Brasilia, the capital of South America's largest country.

The driver has a wary eye out for those red balls which he has occasionally seen thwack into the side of other cars whose drivers are oblivious to the possible danger.

So who are these people all clad in white apparel? Dentists? Possibly. Cyclists who scoot across from time-to-time, and a fellow with a sharp stick from the local council, who skewers any litter, all add to the mystery, along with a group of these 'dentists' who are all female.

There's a 13-year old, who starts running in with one of the red balls and lets fly. Decent 'throw', and one of his 'dentist' mates asks him in Portuguese, who taught him to do that.

"Oh Dennis Lillee."

It was all part of the action from the recent Brazil 20/20 Championships involving teams from Brazilian cricket's three main centres, S o Paulo, Curitiba and the host, Brasilia and, for the first time, the national women's team.

The women have only been at it for a couple of years, having played their Argentine counterparts in a couple of series, and reportedly made quite an impression at their debut this year at the Americas women's titles in Florida.

The best batsman in Brasilia among the women s teams was Juliano Brito, who scored 73 runs in three innings. And, apparently, she can send down the occasional quick one. Also, bowling against the blokes was Narayana Reinehr, who took the most wickets (six in three matches) with her accurate medium pace.

The ladies' two wins and third place were impressive enough for the women's team to score an invite to next year's edition. They finished ahead of Brasilia, the newest of Brazil's three cricket centres. Observers felt the fact every run they scored earned them two in no way diminished their achievements.

So S o Paulo and Curitiba met in the final, S o Paulo notching up 206 before dismissing Curitiba for 127. Man of the Tournament and national captain, Matt Featherstone, a former Kent Cricket Board player, led the charge for S o Paulo with 72, supported by Warwick Heaney (39).

That 13-year-old was Thassilo Weber, who while living next door to one DK Lillee in Perth, apparently learnt a thing or two about fast bowling. Hopefully he'll pass that on to the 20 or so born in Brazil involved in the bash on the Esplanada, among the curious on-lookers, ice-cream sellers and American Football players.