Australian Cricket Captain Meg Lanning Makes Entrancing Return to WNCL

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Resurrecting her stellar form, Australian skipper Meg Lanning made a dazzling comeback to cricket with an eloquent half-century that ignited Victoria’s WNCL expedition at the WACA. Lanning effortlessly scored 51 from 48 deliveries against Western Australia, smashing seven boundaries in her inaugural competitive match since March.

Previously, Lanning’s top-notch performance had been sidelined by Australia’s Ashes tour’s medical team due to an undisclosed health condition. This marked her second significant hiatus from the sport within a year, following her decision to temporarily leave in August 2022 due to personal reasons. However, she returned with a bang in January to captain Australia towards a resounding T20 World Cup victory in South Africa in March.

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While the 31-year-old graced the inaugural Women’s Premier League, her participation in the Ashes squad was withdrawn in March. Despite not being included in the T20 and ODI squads for the match against the West Indies in October, Lanning’s improvement was acknowledged by Pip Inge, the Australian women’s team doctor, stating that she continues to remain unavailable for competitive cricket.

On this hiatus, Victoria’s coach, Jarrad Loughman, mentioned that Lanning spent her downtime training and being ‘around the team’, a brief interlude after the announcement of her unavailability. Loughman affirmed that her re-entry early in the season prior to resuming her international career will dramatically impact his burgeoning team.

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Lanning, who was reprieved early at three off a no-ball from Pippa Cleary, quickly found her groove, catapulting her 12th delivery over mid-off for six, preying on WA’s spinners. Departing shortly after her half-century, her successor Georgia Wareham’s swift exit left Victoria stuttering at 5-109 after just 28 overs.

Despite being a novice with only her third WNCL match, teenage WA quick Chloe Ainsworth exhibited exceptional control with the ball. Star keeper-batter Beth Mooney is now poised to lead WA in its pursuit, making a one-off appearance before merging with Australia’s squad in the anticipation of the West Indies series.

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