Lanning fifty
Meg Lanning has enjoyed another landmark day at the WPL, going past 500 runs in the tournament. Image by Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS
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Lanning survives fastest ball to reach new landmark

Ian Chadband March 6, 2024

Meg Lanning has survived the fastest delivery ever recorded in women’s cricket while going on to make another half-century in a special homecoming victory for the Delhi Capitals in the Women’s Premier League.

The former Australian captain became the first player to go past 500 runs in the league’s two-season annals on Wednesday with her impressive 53 laying the foundations for the Capiitals’ 29-run victory over Mumbai Indians as the WPL moved to New Delhi.

But en route, she had a narrow escape when Mumbai’s South African quick Shabnim Ismail smashed the 130kph barrier for the first time in the women’s game since speeds were first recorded.

Shabnim's quickest ball
 Shabnim Ismail has bowled the quickest ball ever recorded in a women’s match – at 132.1kph. Image by EPA PHOTO 

Ismail’s full ball in her third over was timed at 132.1kph by the speedgun at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, and proved too sharp for Lanning, rapping her on the front pad but adjudged to be straying down legside.

The speed topped the 35-year-old’s delivery timed at 128.3kph in the opening WPL match, also against the Capitals, and also bettered her 128kph ball for South Africa against the West Indies in 2016, the benchmark for the international game.

But still Ismail wasn’t the bowler of the match – with that accolade again going to Australian spinner Jess Jonassen, who for the third successive game enjoyed a three-wicket haul (3-21) to annex the purple cap as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with nine scalps.

“They were needing significant runs at the end to win, so maybe I got a couple of cheap wickets at the end but, hey, I’ll take anything I can get,” said Jonassen, who’s ever economical bowling helped restrict champions Mumbai to 8-163 in reponse to Delhi’s 4-192.

“I’m just riding the wave at the moment, loving being out on the cricket field contributing to a victory.”

With the tournament having moved from its first phase in Bengaluru, Delhi were determined to launch their section of the tournament in front of their home fans in style.

And they did just that, with Lanning and her big-hitting opening partner Shafali Verma (28 off 12 balls) racing to 48 off 27 balls after Delhi had been inserted.

After the Indian departed, the in-form Lanning went on to her second consecutive half-century, her 53 coming off 38 balls and featuring six fours and two sixes.

Highlight for the hosts, though, was a sparkling 69 not out off 33 balls from 23-year-old home idol Jemimah Rodrigues, featuring three sixes, which set them on their way to return to the top of the WPL, two points clear of Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai.

“That was unreal … it was pleasure to be down the other end watching Jemimah,” said her batting partner Jonassen.