Any fears that Australian captain Meg Lanning’s self-imposed break from the game last year had diminished her hunger for runs have been put to bed in India.
Just over a week after leading her side to a third straight T20 World Cup triumph, Lanning is blitzing the inaugural Women’s Premier League in India as she again stamps herself as one of the best batters in the world.
Having signed a new three-year deal with the Melbourne Stars in the WBBL, Lanning’s long-term commitment to playing seems assured.
That has translated to her play in India where, as captain of the Delhi Capitals, and opening the batting, Lanning blasted a second-straight half-century as she got one over on her Australia vice-captain Alyssa Healy’s UP Warriorz.
The win, courtesy of a monster score of 4-214, came despite another Aussie, the world’s No.1 T20 batter Tahlia McGrath, blasting a tournament-high 90 not out, with 11 fours and four sixes.
Through the early stages of the tournament, Lanning is the leading run-scorer, with 142 runs in two games courtesy of scores of 72 and 70.
Bought for what could be considered a bargain price of $192,000, Lanning said she was “thoroughly enjoying” the WPL experience.
“I‘ve always loved opening in T20 cricket, I think it is the best place to bat. I’m thoroughly enjoying batting in India,” she said.
While Lanning sits on top of the run-scorers’ list, McGrath’s effort lifted her into the top five after an uncharacteristic duck on debut for the Warriorz.
In move that caused much surprise, the Warriorz chose not to play Aussie slugger Grace Harris despite her epic last-over effort in the previous match, where she smashed 22 off the final over, including a six off the final ball, to steer her team to an unlikely win.
The performances of Lanning, McGrath and Harris have come as national teammate Ash Gardiner, who earnt a $560,000 contract with the Gujarat Giants, has failed to fire.
In two innings so far, the all-rounder has made just 25 runs, including a debut duck, and taken just one wicket.
Likewise, Healy has struggled with the bat, her two innings returning just 31 runs.