Top of the world: Lancashire cricket star Sophie Ecclestone tops women’s T20I bowling rankings

Lancashire and England’s Sophie Ecclestone has risen to the top of the ICC Women’s T20I bowling rankings after an exceptional World Cup in Australia.

England suffered disappointment in the tournament, bowing out in the semi-final after rain meant that no play was possible in their game against India at Sydney.

Without a reserve day in place, their opponents advanced to the final after finishing top of Group A, one place above England.

However, the Cheshire-born Ecclestone was able to return with her head held high, taking eight wickets from four matches at an magnificent average of 6.12 – the tournament’s best.

In the process, the 20-year-old became the youngest woman to claim 50 T20I wickets when she took 3-7 in England’s group game against the West Indies.

Ecclestone also boasted figures of 2-19 against South Africa, 1-11 against Thailand and 2-12 versus Pakistan, becoming England’s highest-wicket taker in the tournament and bowling at an economy rate of 3.23.

As a result, she is now the number one bowler in the world in the format, with an ICC rating of 779, 16 points above Australia’s Megan Shutt in second place and 167 points above Anya Shrubsole, England’s next highest-ranked bowler.

Incidentally, Ecclestone is the first England bowler to top the rankings since Shrubsole did so in April 2016.

It caps an excellent winter for the left-arm spinner, during which she also took six wickets from three T20Is at an average of 6.33 against Pakistan in Malaysia.

She will be in action for Lancashire throughout next summer’s county campaign as well as appearing for Manchester Originals in the inaugural season of The Hundred.

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