Australian leg-spinner Alana King has become the first cricketer to take a hat-trick in the Hundred women’s competition, achieving the rare feat on debut for the Trent Rockets on Saturday evening AEST.
The 26-year-old helped roll the Manchester Originals for 76 at Old Trafford, finishing her 20-delivery spell with stunning figures of 4/15 including 13 dot balls, the best bowling performance by a female Rockets player in the competition’s short history.
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After removing West Indies veteran Deandra Dottin for a second-ball duck early in Manchester’s run chase, Player of the Match King returned to tear through the Originals middle-order.
The Victorian clean-bowled Cordelia Griffith before trapping rival spinner Sophie Ecclestone on the front pad the very next delivery.
And King completed the hat-trick by bowling Originals captain Kate Cross with a beauty that spun through the gate and crashed into the middle stump, leaving Manchester in dire straits at 7/45.
The Aussie tweaker, donning her trademark sunglasses, celebrated by raising an index finger and sprinting towards cover, reminiscent of the late Shane Warne’s unforgettable 700th Test wicket at the MCG in 2006.
King’s hat-trick took place on the same pitch that childhood hero Warne delivered his iconic “Ball of the Century” in 1993.
“Will I get my name up here at Old Trafford? That would be brilliant. Hopefully right next to Warnie,” King told Sky Sports post-match.
“He took poles here for fun, and I’m sure he was looking down pretty happy.
“He was a massive inspiration, but it wasn’t just me. It was kids all around the world who inspired him to pick up leg spin. He was definitely the reason I picked up leg spin. Hopefully he’s been proud watching down on me spin a few.
“When I was a bit younger, I did a couple of sessions with him. All I remember from that was him saying, ‘Spin it hard and have some fun’. I live by that every single day.
“That’s my first hat-trick. Not even in juniors did I take one. My first hat-trick at Old Trafford, I couldn’t have written it.
“As soon as I got that first wicket, I knew I had to keep aiming for the stumps. I’m just stoked that I can play my part for this team.”
King would have taken four wickets in four balls if the Rockets had reviewed her following delivery, which struck wicketkeeper Eleanor Threlkeld on the pads.
King will be particularly relieved to tick off the career milestone after missing out on a hat-trick during the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
During Australia’s group stage match against Barbados at Edgbaston, captain Meg Lanning dropped a regulation catch at first slip on the hat-trick delivery.
King also starred with the bat on Saturday, smacking an 19 not out off nine deliveries at the death, including two sixes, to steer the Rockets, who were without Lanning and England all-rounder Nat Sciver for personal reasons, towards a defendable total of 5/119.
English wicketkeeper Abigail Freeborn top-scored for the Rockets with an unbeaten 45 off 38 balls, and the Originals came nowhere near chasing the modest total, ultimately suffering a 43-run defeat.
“In the first half, I thought we bowled and fielded really well, and we were happy chasing 120. But then the second bit, we didn’t play like we wanted to play,” Originals coach Paul Shaw said.
“Alana King’s a quality performer who will be around for a long time. She bowled really, really well. But we didn’t play her that well.”
King also held onto a tough outfield catch to remove England’s Ami Campbell for 13 and cap off a superb all-round performance.
“Pretty special but as I said, I’m here to do my job for the team and I’m glad it came off today,” King said.
“It was a fresh wicket today, it was a bit dry and hoping there was some spin and there was. Stoked to get the win and happy I can contribute.
“The atmosphere was absolutely incredible. To get our first win was pretty special. We knew we were under par with the bat, and we needed to stick to our game plan with the ball. We wanted to take some early wickets in the powerplay, which we did. As soon as we got their two openers out, we knew the pressure was back on them.”
The last 10 months of King’s career has been nothing short of extraordinary — after winning a Women’s Big Bash League title with the Perth Scorchers in October last year, she made her international debut in all three formats during the recent home summer.
She was a crucial member of Australia’s undefeated Ashes campaign and World Cup triumph in New Zealand before winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Birmingham earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Australian superstar Ellyse Perry also impressed on Hundred debut for the Birmingham Phoenix with a blistering 58 (31) against the Welsh Fire in Cardiff.
Player of the Match Perry combined with compatriot Sophie Molineux for a crucial fourth-wicket partnership of 82 in 54 balls on the way to a 19-run victory.
The Rockets will next face Birmingham at Edgbaston on Monday, with the first ball scheduled for midnight AEST.