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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2021 Women's bowling winner: Kate Cross bosses India

The England bowler's second career five-for took India apart at Taunton

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
10-Feb-2022
With England's World Cup defence on the horizon, Cross's performance was as much about re-establishing herself in the side as it was about sealing an unassailable 2-0 lead and picking up valuable points in the 50-over leg of their multi-format series with India. Cross had played just twice for England - two ODIs in New Zealand - in the 18 months before India arrived.
She entered the attack in the 12th over, when India were 55 without loss, and struck with her fifth ball, a scrambled-seam delivery that nipped away from a good length for Smriti Mandhana to chop onto her stumps. A few overs later, Jemimah Rodrigues found Katherine Brunt running around from mid-on to catch a leading edge. Cross' third was Harmanpreet Kaur, who skied a return catch. Deepti Sharma's intended maximum was caught by Sophia Dunkley at deep midwicket. The fifth wicket was a hearts-in-mouths moment: captain Heather Knight juggled another leading edge, off Sneh Rana this time, after running in from mid-off, held it at the second grab, and then fended it away with her knee in sheer relief. Cross's five-for helped contain India to 221 and England overhauled the target thanks to an unbroken 92-run partnership between Dunkley and Brunt to win by five wickets.

Key moment

The way Cross called early, positioned herself at short leg and waited for the ball to drop into her hands off Harmanpreet - and her subsequent grin as she tossed the ball skyward in celebration - is etched in memory. That dismissal curtailed Harmanpreet's fourth-wicket partnership with Mithali Raj to 68 after the pair had lifted India from 77 for 3 to 145 for 4, and it altered the momentum of the innings.

The numbers

2 Number of ODI five-wicket hauls for Cross, following her 5 for 24 vs New Zealand in 2015
13 Five-fors in 159 ODIs played by England Women at home

What they said

"I don't think I feel like I needed one, if anything, I feel like I was due to have a day out, which probably sounds a bit arrogant, but I know that I've been bowling really well recently."
- Kate Cross

The closest contenders

Shabnim Ismail
5 for 12 vs Pakistan, second T20I, Durban

Ismail's stunning new-ball spell of 3-0-9-3 helped reduce Pakistan to 20 for 4 en route to her career-best figures, sealing a 2-0 series lead for South Africa. Defending 133, after Tazmin Brits' half-century, Ismail and Marizanne Kapp combined to have Pakistan four wickets down after six overs. Aliya Riaz and Ayesha Naseem offered a quick-fire 65 runs off 42 balls for the sixth wicket before Ismail returned in the final over to remove both and secure victory.
Fatima Sana
5 for 39 vs West Indies, fifth ODI, Coolidge

Sana's maiden five-wicket haul came in a rain-hit match reduced to 34 overs per side. When Deandra Dottin and Britney Cooper, who both went past 35, fell to Sana, West Indies wobbled. Sana went on to dismiss Rashada Williams and Chinelle Henry with consecutive balls and Anisa Mohammed two balls later, in a triple-wicket over. West Indies were all out off the last ball of their innings 23 runs short.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo