Dream Debuts: The women who began with a bang
Every cricketer remembers their first game – even more so when they make a big impact in it. While some frame their match jerseys, others set aside their bats or get ahold of the match ball with which they have hit a hundred and or taken a five-fer. Aside from the memory of the match itself, these are precious memorabilia.
This week, Women’s CricZone presents a list of players (across formats) who enjoyed memorable debuts.
1. Myrtle Maclagan (England)
7 for 41 and 81 runs vs Australia in Brisbane in 1934
The first ever women’s Test match in 1934 saw England take on Australia in Brisbane, and it was a contest dominated by the bowler. However, it was England’s Myrtle Maclagan who took the cake with a devastating spell of 7 for 10 in the first innings. Opting to bat first, the hosts just couldn’t handle the fiery show from Maclagan as they were bundled out for just 47 in the first innings. The right-hander then opened the batting for her side and top scored with 72, leading England to a total of 154, before bowling Australia out again for 138 in the second innings. Although Maclagan failed to take a wicket in the second dig she did bowl 28 economical overs, conceding only 31 runs. She was then dismissed for nine as England completed a comfortable nine wicket win.
2. Mithali Raj (India)
114 not out vs Ireland in Milton Keynes in 1999
On June 26, 1999, a new star was born – probably one of the greatest in the world. Making her ODI debut for India, Mithali Raj carried her bat against Ireland, smashing a brilliant 114 at Campbell Park in Milton Keynes. Mithali shared an unbeaten 258-run first-wicket stand with fellow debutante Reshma Gandhi. It was the start of what would be a magical career for the right-hander.
3. Reshma Gandhi (India)
104 not out vs Ireland in Milton Keynes in 1999
Althoug Reshma Gandhi’s international career lasted only a couple of ODIs, the right-hander’s short stay at the top level is worth remembering as she also hit a blistering century on ODI debut against Ireland in 1999. Raj’s partner-in-crime on debut, Gandhi scored an unbeaten 104, taking India to a total of 258 for no loss in 50 overs. She thus became the second Indian to score a century on ODI debut after Raj brought up her milestone first. Gandhi also completed two dismissals behind the stumps – a catch and a stumping – to open her dismissals account as well. While Gandhi remained a regular part of India’s squad over the next few years, she failed to force her way into the final XI, remaining in the shadow of senior wicket-keeper Anju Jain. She played one additional ODI against England in July of the same year, scoring an unbeaten 18.
4. Michelle Goszko (Australia)
204 vs England in Shenley in 2001
Having made her international debut in an ODI in 1997, Michelle Goszko broke into the Australian Test team only in 2001. The right-hand middle-order batter went on to make her Test debut against England at the Denis Compton Oval in Shenley. Goszko majestically opener her account with a double hundred. Coming in at No.4 with Australia reeling at 21 for 2 in the first innings, the 24-year-old played an innings of maturity and determination scoring a brilliant 204. She stayed at the crease for a mammoth six hours and 35 minutes playing 345 balls with 24 hits to the fence, thus breaking one world record and equaling another in the process. When she passed 131, Goszko set a new record for the highest score on Test debut surpassing the mark of 131 set by Mel Jones in 1998. At 204 she equalled the mark – set by New Zealand’s Kirsty Flavell – for the highest individual score by any batter in women’s Tests. Australia went to win the match by an innings and 140 runs.
5. Shafeeqa Pillay (South Africa)
Five catches v England in Porth Elizabeth in 2004
We often talk about a batter hitting a century or bowler taking five wickets on debuts. South Africa’s Shafeeqa Pillay did something different. Making her ODI debut against England in February 2004, the then 19-year-old was involved in five dismissals, all caught behind. She took the catches of Laura Newton, Claire Taylor, Jane Smit, Rosalie Birch and Helen Wardlaw, setting a record for most catches in an ODI innings. South Africa registered a thrilling last ball win with one wicket to spare, Pillay scoring a 14-ball four. However, she didn’t last long in the international arena with her career spanning just 12 ODIs.
6. Karen Rolton (Australia)
2 for 26 and 96 not out vs England in Taunton in 2005
Karen Rolton, Australia’s burly left-hand batter, made her international debut in 1995. Over the next 10 years she established herself as one of the most prolific run-scorers in the women’s circuit, treating bowlers with utter disdain through her powerful strokeplay. It wasn’t until 2005, however, that she got a chance to really test her limits as a ‘power player’. On the occasion of Australia’s first-ever T20I in September 2005 at Taunton, Rolton brought out her A-game.
Batting first, England scored 151 for 7 in 20 overs. While Lisa Sthalekar, Kirsten Pike and Shelley Nitschke grabbed a wicket apiece, Karen Rolton finished with figures of 2 for 26. Chasing 152 at required run-rate of 7.6 per over, Australia were in dire straits reeling at 6 for 3 with Katherine Brunt doing all the damage. With Alex Blackwell at the other end, Rolton played one of the most memorable T20I knocks, cracking an unbeaten 96 of just 53 balls to take Australia home by seven wickets in 17.4 overs. She hammered the English bowlers all over the park with 16 fours and a single six. A debut to remember indeed!
7. Chloe Tryon (South Africa)
2 for 28 vs West Indies in Basseterre in 2010
Chloe Tryon’s international debut – a T20I against West Indies in 2010 – kicked off in memorable style with the left-arm seamer picking up a wicket with her very first ball. Tryon dismissed opener Stafanie Taylor with the first ball of her career, Alicia Smith taking the catch, to reduce the hosts to 7 for 1. As if that weren’t a good enough start, the left-armer took another wicket off the final ball of her first over when she had Cordel Jack caught by Charlize van der Westhuizen for four. West Indies were in a spot of bother at 12 for 2 in two overs. Tryon did not take any more wickets and got a bit of treatment from Deandra Dottin – who notched up her maiden T20I hundred – but the start to her international career was certainly one to remember.
8. Anjali Chand (Nepal)
6 for 0 vs Maldives in Pokhara in 2019
Anjali Chand made headlines all over the world when she picked up six wickets on T20I debut for Nepal against the Maldives in 2019. The off-spinner finished with incredible figures of 2.1-2-0-6. Not only did she register the best-ever figures in T20Is, but also picked up a hat-trick along the way. Such was her dominance that the Maldives were bowled out for just 16 in 10.1 overs. Nepal won the match in just five balls without losing a wicket.
See more lists here.