ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – Halfway through: plenty of teams are well in the hunt

We’ve reached the halfway stage of the round-robin part of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, with the competition proving very tight in both Pool A and Pool B.

 

Battling to secure a top-two spot in each pool is proving challenging enough, making it very hard to predict who could feature in the play-offs.

 

That makes it all interesting and worthwhile, right?

 

Four matches have taken place since my review of the first six matches, with India remaining undefeated while England, Pakistan and Australia have also tasted success.

 

Following their first-up loss to the Proteas, England responded with a thumping 98-run win over minnows Thailand.

 

On paper the result appears predictable and lopsided, but let’s put things in context for a moment.

 

England is a vastly experienced team while the country has a history of cricket dating back to possibly the 16th century, before cricket became a national sport in England sometime in the 18th century. By comparison, cricket has had a rather small following in Thailand, such that many people in that country are either not familiar with cricket, or only recently realised that Thailand would have a women’s World Cup cricket team.

 

There was a little ray of sunshine for the World Cup newcomers, as Amy Jones was stumped off Nattaya Boochatham without scoring from the second ball of the match. In the next over, another seasoned campaigner – Danni Wyatt – departed for a first-ball duck.

 

Two openers dismissed without scoring while lasting a total of three balls: a rarity in any form of cricket. Let’s give credit where it’s due to Thailand for achieving something so unusual.

 

It was only a matter of time before England gained control, with captain Heather Knight blasting 108 not out off 66 balls while Natalie Sciver made 59 not out off 52 balls in a total of 2-176.

 

Thailand managed 78 runs for the loss of seven wickets, with opener Natthakan Chantam the pick of the batters with 32 runs off 53 balls.

 

After starting their tournament with a win, the West Indies came back to earth as Pakistan began its campaign in style with an eight-wicket drubbing.

 

Diana Baig dismissed Hayley Matthews with the first ball of the match, before Stefanie Taylor and Shemaine Campbelle made 43 each.

 

Three Pakistanis claimed two wickets each as the West Indians were restricted to 7-124, before Pakistan’s openers put on 58 runs.

 

Four Pakistanis shared the runs as the team won with 10 balls to spare; Javeria Khan and Bismah Maroof scoring 30s.

 

India held on for a tense three-run win over New Zealand despite a late assault from Amelia Kerr and Hayley Jensen on the Indian bowlers.

 

Prodigious Indian Shafali Verma shone like a beacon at the top of the order for the third successive match, scoring 46 off 34 balls before the team stumbled to 7-111 with 17 balls left.

 

A vital 22-run eighth wicket stand proved decisive in the context of the match.

 

Deepti Sharma claimed the vital scalp of Suzie Bates before leg-spinner Poonam Yadav, having made an enormous impression in India’s first two matches, took the prized scalp of Sophie Devine as the White Ferns sank to 3-34 in the ninth over.

 

When Yadav began the penultimate over, New Zealand required 34 runs off 12 balls and had five wickets in hand.

 

Kerr hammered four fours and a two, showing that yes, Poonam Yadav is human and that like any bowler in T20 cricket, she could deliver an expensive over.

 

Sixteen runs were needed in the last over, to be bowled by Shikha Pandey whose first three overs cost only 10 runs.

Jensen struck the first ball past fine leg for four but the next three balls featured only a single each, meaning nine runs were needed from two balls.

 

Kerr hit a four off the fifth ball but managed only a single from the last ball, all but sealing a place for India in the play-offs while making New Zealand’s task much harder.

 

The gulf in class between Australia and Bangladesh was apparent as Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney, assisted by some slipshod fielding, set up a total of 1-189.

 

Healy was finally dismissed for 83 while Mooney finished with an unbeaten 81. Ashleigh Gardner struck a quickfire 22 not out from 9 balls, including a six which resulted from a dropped catch on the boundary.

 

Megan Schutt (3-21) and Jess Jonassen (2-17) were Australia’s best bowlers, while Fargana Hoque Pinky played some attractive strokes in her knock of 36.

 

A late flurry of wickets, including two run-outs, meant Bangladesh finished at 9-103.

 

Interestingly, Georgia Wareham was included in the Australian team at the expense of Molly Strano while Sophie Molineux, who bowled brilliantly against India shortly before the start of the tournament, was omitted again.

 

More T20 reports from Liam HERE

 

 

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About Liam Hauser

A Queenslander through and through, Liam went out of his comfort zone as he had a thoroughly worthwhile time in Tumut and Gundagai from 2008 to 2016 before enjoying a year in Gunnedah. His strongest sporting interests are State of Origin, Sheffield Shield, Test cricket and the NRL. His sporting CV doesn’t have many highlights, although he once top-scored in a warehouse cricket match with 54 not out at number 10, and shared in an unbroken last wicket stand of 83 with the number 11 who scored an undefeated 52. Liam has written books including State of Origin 35 Years, A Century of Cricket Tests, A History of Test Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Rugby League, and The Great Grand Finals: Rugby League's Greatest Contests. Also a huge fan of Electric Light Orchestra.

Comments

  1. It’s certainly proving to be a more interesting tournament than we might have expected. Pakistan remains the unknown quantity at this point. South Africa also somewhat enigmatic. The Australia v NZ clash early next week seems likely to decide which team goes through to the play-offs from that Pool. That match has the makings of a spirited contest!

    So, apart from India, which other teams do you think are most likely to reach the next round, Liam?

  2. Liam,
    I have very much enjoyed the tournament, but I must say that some of the fielding (particularly the catching) leaves a lot to be desired. And that includes Australia.

  3. Steve Frances says

    Liam, can you pick the combined (fantasy) team of the first 10 matches. I think Thailand are tadpoles, rather than minnows, they may develop in the future into a more developed team (animal).

  4. Liam Hauser says

    Ian, the Australia v New Zealand clash should go a long way to deciding which team (besides India) makes it from Group A. I’m not prepared to speculate yet. As for Group B, I’m guessing South Africa will be there, while the England v Pakistan result might go a long way towards deciding which other team goes through.
    Smokie, from what I’ve seen, there has indeed been some disappointing fielding and catching.
    Steve, it’s hard to pick a squad of 11 at the moment. I’d certainly include Indian trio Shafali Verma, Poonam Yadav and Shikha Pandey. As for others, perhaps Stafanie Taylor (WI), Sune Luus (SA), Amelia Kerr and Sophie Devine (NZ), Natalie Sciver and Heather Knight (England). As for Australians, there are probably 4 candidates at present (Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt). Hayley Jensen (NZ) and Marizanne Kapp (SA) are other possibilities.

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