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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2022 Women's ODI batting nominees: Alyssa Healy and Nat Sciver-Brunt drop jaws in World Cup final

Our nominees set the stage alight with some epic knocks this year

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan
Nat Sciver plays the scoop, Australia vs England, Women's World Cup 2022 final, Christchurch, April 3, 2022

Nat Sciver-Brunt single-handedly kept England's hopes alive in the World Cup final against Australia with an unbeaten 148 off 121 balls  •  ICC via Getty Images

Amelia Kerr
119 not out vs India
second ODI, Queenstown

The background first: Kerr had opted out of the game in the second half of 2021 to focus on her mental health. The bilateral series against India in the lead up to the 50-over World Cup was her first on return. Kerr was backed to bat at No. 3 in ODIs for the first time in her career and was facing a situation where New Zealand had lost the big three of Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine and Amy Satterthwaite inside the first ten overs in a daunting chase of 271. But Kerr batted like she always belonged - cashing in on the width offered by India's fast bowlers, using the depth of the crease against spin and, more importantly, pushing the ball into the deep pockets of the John Davies Oval and running well between the wickets, thereby not relying on just the boundaries to keep New Zealand in the hunt. Spurred by Kerr's second ODI century, New Zealand achieved what was then their second-highest successful chase.
Meg Lanning
135 not out vs South Africa
Women's World Cup, Wellington

A win would have assured South Africa of the semi-final spot and they had done half the work when they set Australia a target of 272 and sent back Alyssa Healy and Rachel Haynes early in the chase. But they couldn't hold on to a chance Lanning gave when on 7 and she made South Africa pay, never letting the momentum shift and scoring at a strike rate in excess of 100 through her innings. Her unbeaten 135 is the third-highest individual score in a chase and it helped Australia achieve the third-highest target in a successful chase.
Alyssa Healy
170 vs England
Women's World Cup final, Christchurch

It was an innings for the ages. Healy out-batted England from the contest on her way to the highest score in a World Cup final - surpassing Adam Gilchrist's 149 from 2007. She picked up lines and lengths early and deposited the ball to all parts of the ground, leaving the English bowlers searching for answers. The start to Healy's innings was like most ODI knocks - she scored 15 off 25 at the ten-over mark, then made a 62-ball half-century. After that she sped up to notch a run-a-ball hundred before going berserk - the next 70 runs came of just 37 balls with Australia scoring 79 runs in overs 41-45.
Nat Sciver-Brunt
148 not out vs Australia
Women's World Cup final, Christchurch

It is not often that you have two belligerent knocks in a single game, and that too in a World Cup final. If Healy's innings set the benchmark, Sciver-Brunt's onslaught threatened to spoil Australia's party. In the earlier clash against Australia in the competition, she had hit an unbeaten 109 in a losing cause. In the final, she found herself in the middle in the seventh over with England at 38 for 2. After a 48-run partnership, captain Heather Knight fell too, yet Sciver-Brunt kept the attack on and made Australia nervous, adding 50 for the fifth wicket with Sophia Dunkley and setting up a 65-run ninth-wicket stand with Charlie Dean to keep the possibility of a win alive. Eventually, she ran out of partners and was stranded on 148 off 121 balls with more than six overs to spare.
Harmanpreet Kaur
143 not out vs England
second ODI, Canterbury

It didn't come at a world event, but this 111-ball knock from Harmanpreet could well be the sequel to her iconic 171 not out in the 2017 World Cup. She bailed India out from a tricky position, coming in at 99 for 3, with a 113-run stand with Harleen Deol. She then went on to add 50 off just 36 balls with Pooja Vastrakar before a staggering, unvanquished 71 off just 24 balls with Deepti Sharma, which is the quickest partnership of at least 50 runs in women's ODIs. She meted out special treatment to left-arm seamer Freya Kemp, who conceded 54 off her last three overs, including 26 off one. A key part of Harmanpreet's knock was the way she accelerated - she took 64 balls for her first 50 runs, 36 for her next 50, and only 11 for her last 43 runs. Her scythes over the off side will remain some of the most memorable images of the innings.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo