Opportunity, expectation in store as women's cricket aims to carve a niche

November 08 2018 by Kritika Naidu

With great opportunity, comes great expectation. That's the narrative of this year's edition of the Women's T20 WC. It is, after all, the first standalone event of the tournament - unlike the previous editions where it had been a shadow of the men's game - in what is a giant stride in the ascension of women's cricket that has seen rapid growth in the last few years.

It will be a tournament that will see progression from the previous editions. It will be the first time that the DRS system will be put to use in all the T20Is, with one review per side. This edition also sees a cut down in the amount of travelling that teams have to do in comparison to it during the last WWT20 in India. Group A fixtures will now be played in St Lucia,and Group B in Guyana, before the tournament moves to Antigua for the knockouts.

Holders West Indies will enjoy an advantage of familiarity. They will get to defend their title at home, and will start as favourites. But such a tag also brings along expectations. The team's fate will squarely depend on how the world's top two all-rounders in Stefanie Taylor and Hayley Mathews perform, in the company of the experienced Deandra Dottin.

The sustained brilliance and expertise of both Australia and England have held them in good stead in recent times with star players across their line-ups. With a disappointing exit in the World Cup semi-final in 2017, three-time WWT20 winners Australia would see this as a chance to make amends.

India, who will be led by Harmanpreet Kaur for the first time in a global event, aren't too far behind Australia and England. Although, most of the squad is alien to conditions in the Caribbean, with only Mithali Raj, Kaur and Ekta Bisht part of the squad that toured here in 2012, they are travelling with five spinners which could make or break their tournament. Yet, they will do well to latch onto the confidence from their performance at the World Cup last year that impressed a spectrum of audiences.

New Zealand, on the other hand, haven't reached the final of a global event since 2010. After a rather dismal show at the World Cup last year, this is their chance to ratify the expectations. They are a team that love to chase. With immense experience in their batting, led by Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine and skipper Amy Satterthwaite, and strength in their spin twins in Leigh Kasperek and Amelia Kerr, New Zealand shouldn't settle for anything lesser than a spot in the knockouts.

South Africa's recent tour of the Caribbean will have them start as one of the other teams expected to perform well as they are the only team familiar with conditions besides the hosts. The five-match T20I series in September ended at 2-2 with one game being abandoned. Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt, who found form against Windies, will hold the key if South Africa are to go far in the tournament.

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Ireland occupy the last spots in the rankings, but all of them have potential and a self-professed thirst to prove themselves on the global stage. Bangladesh's Asia Cup win, after beating India in the final, will give them immense confidence while taking on the likes of Sri Lanka, South Africa or heavyweights England and Windies. It will be imperative for the health of the women's game for the lower-rung teams to punch above their weight, who on their day are very capable of causing upsets.

For the Women's World Cup last year, the ICC and the ECB went out of their way to cater to the welfare of the game in terms of promotions, which in turn saw a drastic increase in the viewership and interest.


India Women: Harmanpreet Kaur(c), Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Anuja Patil, Ekta Bisht, Dayalan Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy

New Zealand Women: Amy Satterthwaite(c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Sophie Devine, KE Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe

England Women: Heather Knight, Katherine Brunt, Sophia Dunkley Brown, Sophie Ecclestone, Natasha Farrant, Kirstie Gordon, Jenny Gunn, Danielle Hazell, Amy Ellen Jones, Natalie Sciver, Linsey Smith, Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt, Tammy Beaumont

Australia Women: Meg Lanning(c), Rachael Haynes, Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham, Nicola Carey

Ireland Women: Laura Delany(c), Kim Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Gaby Lewis, Lara Maritz, Ciara Metcalfe, Lucy OReilly, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Clare Shillington, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron

Windies Women: Stafanie Taylor(c), Merissa Aguilleira, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Sheneta Grimmond, Chinelle Henry, Kycia Knight, Hayley Matthews, Natasha McLean, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Shakera Selman

Sri Lanka Women: Chamari Athapaththu(c), Nilakshi de Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Ama Kanchana, Sugandika Kumari, Eshani Lokusuriyage, Dilani Manodara, Yasoda Mendis, Hasini Perera, Udeshika Prabodhani, Inoshi Priyadharshani, Oshadi Ranasinghe, Shashikala Siriwardene, Rebeca Vandort, Sripali Weerakkody

Pakistan Women: Aiman Anwer, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Natalia Pervaiz, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sana Mir, Sidra Ameen, Sidra Nawaz, Bismah Maroof

South Africa Women: Dane van Niekerk(c), Chloe Tryon, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Shabnim Ismail, Masabata Klaas, Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Laura Wolvaardt, Zintle Mali, Robyn Searle, Tumi Sekhukhune, Trisha Chetty, Moseline Daniels, Yolani Fourie

Bangladesh Women: Salma Khatun(c), Rumana Ahmed, Jahanara Alam, Fargana Hoque, Khadija Tul Kubra, Fahima Khatun, Ayasha Rahman, Shamima Sultana, Nahida Akter, Panna Ghosh, Ritu Moni, Sanjida Islam, Nigar Sultana, Lata Mondal, Sharmin Akhter

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