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Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Megan Schutt becomes 1st Australian woman to take a T20I hat-trick

 

March 26, 2018 - Pacer Megan Schutt became the first Australian woman to take a T20I hat-trick in a tri-series match in Mumbai that sank India to 26 for 3. Schutt bagged another international hat-trick a year later.

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Most would remember Megan Schutt from the recently-concluded ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 where she finished as the highest wicket-taker. The Aussie quick picked up 13 wickets from just six games, at an exceptional average of 10.31, including a 4-fer, while giving away just 134 runs. Her figures of 4/18 in the final against India, including the wicket of explosive opener Shafali Verma, broke the back of the Indian batting line-up as they were never able to recover from the early blows.

What was even more impressive about her World Cup heroics was that it was a tournament dominated by spinners. After picking up two three-fers in Australia's four league-stage wins, the way she capped off her campaign in the final, made it all the more special. She bowled 19 deliveries in the final, 12 of which were dot balls. Her double-wicket 18th over set up Australia's successful defence of 184.

27 now, Schutt had her fist taste of international cricket in an ODI against New Zealand at Sydney in 2012, a month before making her T20I debut. While she had cemented her spot long back, her moment of glory came in March 2018 in Mumbai.

With the temperature around 40 °C, when Schutt pitched the ball short and Deepti Sharma tried to loft it over the infield but ended up giving a simple catch at mid off, little did the pacer know that she had struck gold. 

 Schutt had been somewhat fortunate in dismissing Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj on the last two deliveries in her last over. While Mandhana was yorked and had the ball roll on to the stumps after hitting her back leg, Mithali lazily inside edged a horizontal bat shot on to the stumps. But the Aussies were certainly not complaining.

"I wasn't even aware that I was on a hat-trick," she said after the game. "Probably it's a good thing. I had to adapt to the plan and conditions, and somehow they hit the stumps. I'm happy with that."

An year later, the South Australian scripted history, becoming the first woman to claim two hat-tricks in white-ball cricket after she cleaned up the West Indies tail and became the first Australian women to claim a hat-trick in ODIs. 

At that time, it was the 11th hat-trick taken in women’s ODIs, while Schutt was the seventh Australian, male or female, to achieve the feat in one-dayers. Before her, only three Australian women had claimed international hat-tricks, with Betty Wilson and Rene Farrell having taken Test hat-tricks.

In the game against West Indies, Schutt bowled an economical spell without a wicket through 9.3 overs before dismissing the trio of Chinelle Henry, Karishma Ramharack and Afy Fletcher in the final three deliveries of the West Indies' innings to bundle out the hosts for 180.

"It was good to actually take it all in the one over. It's kind of luck of the draw, it was the last over of the innings so you're either getting hit for six or getting wickets," an elated Schutt said. "I just hoped for the best really, I know my back-of-the-hand slower ball is effective on wickets that turn a bit so I just looked to take as much pace off as I could."

Schutt is currently the No. 2 ranked bowler in T20Is and the No. 3 ranked in ODIs. It was only fitting that she dismissed Poonam Yadav, the second-highest wicket-taker of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020, in what was the final wicket to fall in the tournament and seal Australia's first home T20 World Cup win.

 ©Cricket World 2020