Southern Stars Shine on Sub-Continent
Departing for India, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars would have been mindful that tough conditions and a quality opposition awaited them. After completing a successful summer in front of their faithful followers against New Zealand, the girls were confident they could use this tour as a stepping-stone to success at the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka later in the year.
With a perfect mix of youth and experience it was no surprise to see the Southern Stars execute their skills at the highest level winning all but one of their games on the tour. In these fixtures fans were treated to some stunning strokes and brilliant bowling from experienced campaigners and rookie tourists alike.
In the fifty over format, the highlights with the willow were a blistering 128 from young gun Meg Lanning who celebrated her 20th birthday at the end of the tour. In addition, there was a career best 90 not out from fellow Victorian Jess Cameron. With the ball, dual international Ellyse Perry was lethal claiming 9 wickets for the series including 5-19 in game two. Left arm spinner Jess Jonassen from QLD and veteran NSW off spinner Lisa Sthalekar provided Jodie Fields with some handy bowling options on the spin friendly wickets. The Southern Stars completed the three match ODI Series undefeated and confident they could continue their good form into the T20s.
When it came time for the T20s, the Southern Stars had momentum and were going to be very hard to stop. Meg Lanning, who had been named WT20 player of the year back in Australia notched up 146 runs for the series at 48.66. Sharing the lime light was Jess Cameron who scored two half centuries continued her brilliant form into the T20s. An extra addition to the side was Alyssa Healy who made an immediate impact with a rapid 90 off 61 balls including 10 boundaries and two sixes. She followed this up with another half century in the next game and finished as the leading run scorer for the tournament. Julie Hunter backed up her outstanding form in the home summer to finish the series the leading wicket taker and notched up career best figures of 4-15 in the penultimate game. Sthalekar, Perry and Sarah Coyte all proved resourceful with the ball in support of Hunter.
With less exposure and tighter budgets, participants in the women’s game have more to sacrifice and less to gain financially than the upper echelon of male competitors. These girls are highly professional in their preparation without the publicity that their performances should attract from cricket enthusiasts around the globe. Hopefully more people will stand up and take notice of this vastly skilled group of cricketers as they press on towards the T20 World Cup later this year.