ESPNcricinfo Awards 2023 Women's T20 leagues bowling nominees: Hayley smokes, Darlington rips, Wellington does it twice
3 for 5 vs Delhi Capitals
WPL final, Mumbai
Matthews found no bidders in the first round of the WPL auction, but finished as the top wicket-taker in the first season of the competition. She saved her best for the final: in an excellent display of offspin bowling, she finished with 3 for 5 off her four overs in a title-winning cause. Her third wicket was the best among them: in the 16th over, she got a length ball outside off to turn in sharply to breach Taniya Bhatia's defences and rattle her middle stump. It was her 16th wicket of the WPL, which sealed her claim for Player of the Tournament.
4 for 11 vs London Spirit
The Hundred, Lord's
Adams came into the match with six wickets from three games in the competition and extended her lead at the top of wicket-takers' chart with four more wickets. She struck regularly, removing Danielle Gibson, Amelia Kerr and Richa Ghosh a little over halfway into the innings, leaving Spirit at 69 for 4. Heather Knight's quick 44 helped Spirit recover somewhat, but Adams returned towards the end to dismiss her and eventually restrict Spirit to 104 in a rain-hit game.
4 for 23 vs Guyana Amazon Warriors
WCPL final, Tarouba
Amazon Warriors were chasing 170 for the title and Hayley Matthews conceded 16 runs in the 18th over, which brought it down to 23 to get from 12 balls. In came Wellington, who had earlier bowled Stafanie Taylor off her first delivery in the seventh over. She first dragged Shabika Gajnabi forward with a ball spinning away to induce a stumping, and conceded just two off her next three balls. Wellington then had Shreyanka Patil caught behind and Sheneta Grimmond stumped off consecutive deliveries to bring the target to 21 needed off the final six balls - which proved beyong Warriors.
5 for 10 vs Melbourne Stars
Defending 125, fast bowler Darlington ripped through Melbourne Stars with her first five-wicket haul - the best figures for any bowler in the 2023 season of the competition. She struck with her first ball to Alice Capsey, who had raced to 27 off 18, and dismissed Annabel Sutherland, also caught behind, off the first ball of the eighth over. Four balls later it was time for Meg Lanning to go, also caught behind. Darlington returned in the tenth over to bowl the ball of the day to Kim Garth, one that jagged back from outside off stump to take middle and leg, and had the batter walking for a golden duck. Darlington's figures are the second best for a fast bowler in WBBL history after Megan Schutt's 6 for 10.
3 for 16 vs Brisbane Heat
WBBL final, Adelaide
About three months after leading Barbados Royals to a maiden WCPL triumph, Wellington once again played a crucial role in a final, this time for Adelaide Strikers. In a low-scoring game, she defended 12 runs in the final over to hand Strikers back-to-back titles. It began with Georgia Voll holing out to midwicket, off Wellington's third delivery. Mikayla Hinkley then hit the next ball for six, bringing the equation down to five off two. Wellington dismissed Hinkley on the fifth delivery to pull off a narrow three-run win and claim the Player-of-the-Match award.
Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo