Danni Wyatt became the first English cricketer, man or woman, to play 150 T20 internationals, and used the opportunity to show the very best of herself as India were dispatched in Mumbai.
More than 13 years ago, Wyatt made her T20I debut as an off-spinning all-rounder in Mumbai, at the little Bandra Kurla Complex ground. Now, she was back, at the storied Wankhede Stadium, as a dominant opening bat, a show of how far both she and the women’s game have come.
Wyatt’s reinvention has been key to her remarkable longevity: among men, the most capped England T20 player is Eoin Morgan with 115, while among women, the Sciver-Brunts, Katherine and Nat, have 112.
Nat Sciver-Brunt’s partnership of 138 with Wyatt provided the backbone of England’s 38-run victory. Wyatt stood at the non-striker’s end as, in the first over of the match, Renuka Singh dismissed Sophia Dunkley and Alice Capsey with successive balls to leave England on the ropes.
But the experienced pair were unflustered and, with Amy Jones providing a flourish at the death, powered England to an imposing score of 198.
For Wyatt, the timing could barely have been better. She had a milestone to celebrate, but she also had a statement to make. Earlier this year, she was among the highest-profile players passed over in the inaugural auction for India’s Women’s Premier League, and has made no secret of her disappointment.
The auction for the second season takes place this Saturday, the same day as the second of these three T20s, so Wyatt’s final day in the shop window was well used. To her usual scything through the offside, she peppered cow corner off the back foot superbly.
Her only blemish came when she was dropped on 52 in the deep, as part of a very ragged Indian fielding display. Nevertheless, franchises surely will have taken note.
Sciver-Brunt, who has a deal worth £320,000 with Mumbai Indians, does not have to worry about the WPL auction, and nor does UP Warriorz’ Sophie Ecclestone, who made a brilliant return from injury as England defended their target comfortably.
Left-arm spinner Ecclestone dislocated her shoulder in the summer, and required surgery. This was her first game back, and her four overs brought figures of three for 15 in a display of total control.
There were also wickets for Sciver-Brunt, Sarah Glenn and Freya Kemp, the young all-rounder back bowling after a stress fracture which capped a very satisfying win for England.