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Meg Lanning, the architect behind Australian dynasty

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Last updated on 25 Mar 2023 | 07:03 AM
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Meg Lanning, the architect behind Australian dynasty

When a young Singaporean girl shifted to Sydney, little did she know that she was going to shape Australian women’s cricketing history

When a phenomenal Ricky Ponting was ruling world cricket with an indomitable Australian cricket team, little did he know that a little girl in Sydney growing up idolising him, would go on to become the most successful captain in women's cricket and overleap her idol in terms of achievements.

Current Australia women's cricket team captain and an all-time great, Meghann Moira Lanning was born in Singapore on March 25, 1992, before her family shifted to Sydney, and she started playing organised cricket. 

When a young Victorian made her international ODI debut in 2011, she never imagined becoming Australia’s youngest centurion at 18 years and 288 days. The record was previously held by Ponting, who had made his first international century at 21 years and 21 days.

Although young, Lanning has always been an extremely talented batter who could bring down fences on her day. After ending the 2012 ICC Women's World Twenty20 as the third-highest run-scorer, Lanning would go on to score the fastest ODI century in women’s cricket that same year.

A confident Lanning entered the 2013 Women's Cricket World Cup as one of Australia's key players and quickly showed her worth with a 112-run knock against New Zealand in the group stages. Australia would go on to win the World Cup that year. 

Her efforts in limited-overs cricket saw her get into the Test team in 2013, and she almost scored a half-century in the first match against England before falling short by just two runs. Though she had a slow start to her Test stint, her impressive approach to different formats got everyone talking.

Exhibiting maturity beyond her age within the first three years of her debut, Lanning got the captaincy for a T20I game of the 2013–14 Women's Ashes as Jodie Fields sat out. Lannings’ knock of 78 to help Australia win that match by nine wickets was duly noted, and she was made the Australia Women’s T20I cricket team captain, a month later.

The 21-year-old was admittedly “shocked” by the move, but that didn’t deter her from leaping forward. She led the Australian team at the 2014 World Twenty20, ending up as the competition’s top run-scorer by accumulating 257 runs and leading the team to the title effortlessly. Lanning’s 126 against Ireland during this edition is the highest individual score in women’s T20I cricket.

Lanning could do no wrong, and the cricket board quickly decided to hand her captaincy for all three formats of the game. Pundits saw it as a messy move, with previous captain Fields announcing her retirement soon. However, all doubts vanished when Lanning’s strong performances helped Australia win the 2015 Women's Ashes.

By the time Australia entered the 2017 Women's Cricket World Cup, Lanning had already created history by scoring the most number of centuries (10) in Women’s ODIs. 

Despite her constant success in the tournament, with blazing centuries, including one to light the tournament up against Sri Lanka, Australia were knocked out in the semi-final, leading to a lot of talk outside the field. 

Lanning’s quality captaincy was gradually apparent as she returned to the team as the captain post-surgery after almost a year and helped her side win the 2018 World Twenty20. The year 2018 also saw Lanning become the  second-fastest woman to get to 3,000 ODI runs and the first Australian to score 2,000 T20I runs.

There has been no looking back since for Lanning and the Australia Women’s cricket team. Under her captaincy, the Aussies have won two Women’s Cricket World Cups and a whopping five Women’s World Twenty20 championships.

Lanning enters her 31st birthday as the woman cricketer with the most ODI centuries (15) and as the most successful women’s cricket captain with an 80.52 win percentage.

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