Women's batting nominees January 15, 2017

Big scores, and a teen fairy tale

There were some pretty special chases in women's cricket in 2016

Tammy Beaumont made the second-highest one-day international score by an England batsman © Getty Images

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Tammy Beaumont
168 not out v Pakistan
third ODI, Taunton

This was a special effort for the sheer length of the innings. Beaumont faced nearly half of England's 50 overs. She scored at a strike rate of over 100, uncommon in women's cricket, in seaming conditions, and became the first England woman to hit back-to-back ODI centuries as England wrapped up a 3-0 series win against Pakistan. Her 168 not out was also the second-highest score by an England woman in ODIs, and the fourth-highest overall.

Deandra Dottin showed no discomfort against India's spinners on the slow Eden Gardens surface © IDI/Getty Images

Deandra Dottin
45 v India
World T20, Mohali

A semi-final berth was at stake. India landed the early punches in a contest that was reduced to a battle of the spin attacks. West Indies kept waiting for India's spinners to finish their quota of overs, and when that showed no sign of happening, Dottin was forced to set the pace. While Stafanie Taylor picked up the singles, Dottin used the crease well to smother the spin and bring out fierce sweeps and delicate dabs. The two added 77 together and lifted West Indies to 114, a total their bowlers just about managed to defend.

Hayley Matthews starred in West Indies' first world title © AFP

Hayley Matthews
66 v Australia
World T20 final, Kolkata

West Indies had missed qualifying for the World T20 final on three previous occasions. When they finally made it, they were up against a side gunning for their fourth successive world title. In a seemingly tough chase of 149 on a slow Eden Gardens surface, Matthews, an 18-year old who had played the same number of T20Is as years she had lived, single-handedly denied Australia with her maiden half-century. The brutality of her 45-ball knock caught Australia off guard. West Indies eventually won in the final over, and the lasting image of their triumph was Carlos Brathwaite, who would become the hero of the men's final, lifting Matthews up in his arms as the rest of the side huddled together to soak in the historic win.

Ellyse Perry played a mature innings to take Australia to victory in Canberra © Getty Images

Ellyse Perry
93* v South Africa
first ODI, Canberra

Much of Australia's dominance has been due to their batting, and captain Meg Lanning has been central to their plans for a better part of the last four years. But in Canberra, Australia's top three, including Lanning, were nipped out quickly in a chase of 227 against South Africa. Allrounder Perry, at No. 4, had to curb her natural game and instead shepherd the middle and lower orders. Only 36 of her runs came in boundaries, but by remaining unbeaten, she helped her side prevail in a tense chase in the series opener.

Harmanpreet's impressive batting on India's tour of Australia landed her a WBBL contract © Getty Images

Harmanpreet Kaur
46 v Australia
first T20I, Adelaide

Harmanpreet retained the natural belligerence of her game, but a calmer side of her emerged in Adelaide, one of a finisher, as India recorded their highest T20I chase and set the tone for their first series win against Australia. India had never chased down 141 before and Harmanpreet had not scored a single fifty across formats in 2015. The innings kicked off a fantastic year, in which she became the first India player - male or female - to feature in an overseas T20 league, when Sydney Thunder signed her up for the second edition of the Women's Big Bash League. India's chase in this match earned the admiration of the opposition. Alyssa Healy, the Australia wicketkeeper, went so far as to say that India taught them how to play T20 cricket.

Click here for the women's bowling shortlist

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo