The best women bowlers

Looking at the powerplay, middle and death

Sophie Ecclestone is one of the best bowlers in the world. Like, this much is obvious. But weirdly enough, despite her number one ranking, she is not as great in the powerplay, and I would go as far as to say that she should never even bother bowling there.

I found this when going through the data on the best T20 bowlers in the world by phases of a T20 match. As we said in the video about the men, our data is limited by the number of matches they play, and how hard it is to get information. But even so, we have enough to see some pretty cool patterns.

And there are some naughty records in all this.


As you may have noticed, powerplay batting was not a strong point for the women, and there are many reasons for that, but the bowlers are certainly cashing in. There aren’t many of the best players in the world without good numbers.

Australians and Indians really have a lot of options.  The Aussies have Ashleigh Gardner’s spin and Darcie Brown’s seam. While India have Deepti Sharma’s tweaks backed up by Renuka Singh. That is essentially four of the best five bowlers right there, and good flexibility as well.

Special shout out to Susie Bates who is a great low-usage powerplay grifter. I was not expecting to see her up here. But as always even in her dirty part-time medium pace, she overachieves.

Of the defensive bowlers I want to point out two of the outliers here.  The first is Sophie Ecclestone, who has an abnormally high average in the powerplay. Looking at this, I wouldn’t bowl her here. Either having fielders in bothers her, or she doesn’t like the new ball. She is so good in the rest of the game, this is a waste.  Also, remember Gardner was all the way up here. No one would think she is a better bowler than Ecclestone, although she is obviously very good. But Gardner’s numbers are just plain wrong in the best way, and Ecclestone is wrong in the worst way.

Then we have Megan Schutt, who is very much like Bhuvi Kumar, my guess is teams have stopped trying to score off her in dangerous ways, so her Econ is incredible, but she doesn’t take wickets because of it.

In the attackers, Kate Cross is the most interesting. She takes wickets at a freaky level, even less than Gardner. Her plan is pretty simple, she balls what she has admitted are unintentional wobble balls at the top of the middle stump from an angle, and looking at this, about every 12 balls someone misses them.

And of course, we get to Marizanne Kapp. She averages less than 20 while going at under five runs a ball. Considering she can bat, these numbers are really quite disgusting, and she should be forced to apologise for them.


Remember that the batters get a lot better in the middle for the women, well we certainly see this through the bowlers as well. In run rate though, there are still plenty of wicket-takers. Let’s go straight in with some leg spin.

Rumana Ahmed is huge for Bangladesh. In 82 matches she has a bowling average under 20 and an economy of under a run a ball. She’s been around a while, but she’s in some form and has been part of the rise of Bangladesh cricket.

Amanda-Jade Wellington and Alana King need to be talked about together. Between them, they have 100 wickets in the middle. However, Wellington still did not make it to the squad simply because of how competitive it is to break into this Australian team. More than the next three bowlers combined. Wellington is good against lefties. King is the Queen. Incredible Econ and average combo.

Of course, let’s mention Sophie Ecclestone, just to show how good she is, and that this is the time for her to bowl, and not that powerplay.

I hate to mention Radha Yadav, but for someone with a good career record, her last couple of years have not quite been ideal in the middle. This is a staggeringly bad record.

When Marianne Kapp is used here, she is still great. Megan Schutt suddenly becomes a wicket-taker in the middle, but with surprisingly high Econ.

A couple more heavy-hitter spinners here, Sneh Snay Rana outshines Deepti Sharma in the middle. A good defensive bowler, which Deepti also is. But Nida Dar - who was also pretty good in the middle with the bat, - does some excellent work with the ball. Holding Pakistan’s collective middles together.


One thing worth noting here is that there is a group of bowlers with averages that seem made up. Some of this is because of the small sample size. But in truth, you can see there is a huge difference between this group at the top and the rest.

Let’s put some respect on Radha Yadav’s name, she may struggle in the middle, but she comes home beautifully at the end. You can see her near Ecclestone as well, just proving what I said before that there is no need for her to bowl upfront.

I love that Katherine Brunt is still a star here. All these years later and she is still too angry to let anyone score on her.

I haven’t seen much of Hayley Jensen from NZ, but this is a very good record at the death.

But it’s nothing compared to Jess Jonassen. She has the most wickets in this period while averaging seven. SEVEN. And also going at that an over. She is just an absolute freak to be a frontline spinner at the death this often and do it so well.

I have watched her bowl a lot and tried to work out what makes her so good, and I am still not sure I complexly get it. She is just so clever, accurate and composed. And I wouldn’t say there is much mystery there. But she makes brilliant bowling choices. And he is very you miss, she hits.