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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Spinners on charge as duo close in on top T20I bowler ranking


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Dubai: The reign of England star Sophie Ecclestone as the top ranked T20I bowler is under threat as a pair of spinners from India and South Africa made big gains in the latest ICC T20I Player Rankings.

While Ecclestone holds on to a narrow lead at the top ahead of the upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, Deepti Sharma and Nonkululeko Mlaba have made significant ground on the England tweaker as a result of some strong performances during the ongoing tri-series between India, South Africa and the West Indies.

Deepti is the leading wicket-taker of the series with nine scalps and Mlaba isn’t far behind with four, and the pair will be eyeing off Ecclestone’s spot as the top-ranked T20I bowler if they continue this form ahead of the start of the Women’s T20 World Cup on February 10.

Ecclestone’s lead is down to just 26 rating points following the latest rankings update made by the ICC on Tuesday, with second-placed Deepti (737) and third-placed Mlaba (732) both jumping a spot courtesy of their good recent form and closing in on the England star’s total of 763 rating points.

There was plenty of movement inside the top 10 on the rankings update for bowlers this week, with Australia pacer Megan Schutt (up six places to fifth) and England seamer Katherine Sciver-Brunt (up two spots to sixth) also climbing the rungs.

India spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad moves up four places to 14th overall on the list for T20I bowlers, while Australia duo Alana King (up 12 places to 17th) and Darcie Brown (up eight spots to 26th) catch the eye following good performances during their recent series against Pakistan.

Australia right-hander Tahlia McGrath maintains a healthy buffer at the top of the T20I batter rankings, with classy South Africa top-order performer Laura Wolvaardt among the biggest movers behind her.

Wolvaardt improves four places to ninth overall on the back of her strong start to the tri-series against India and the West Indies, while teammate Tazmin Brits jumps 10 spots to 18th after an impressive half-century last week.

West Indies skipper Hayley Matthews has been in good form at the tri-series and the talented all-rounder jumps four places to 22nd overall on the updated T20I rankings for batters.

The only change inside the top 10 on the list for all-rounders sees Australia veteran Ellyse Perry take 10th place from McGrath following a stylish half-century against Pakistan.

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