The stage is nearly set. The teams have arrived. The practice sessions have been in full swing, the anticipation of the fans is at its peak. Coming 9th of November, the world is going to witness the sixth and the biggest edition of the ICC Women’s World T20. It is for the first time that this event is being conducted as a standalone event unlike the previous editions. Several legends from across the globe and especially Carribean legends such as Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Andy Roberts, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Windies men’s 2 time successful World T20 winning captain Darren Sammy are roped in as the ambassadors for the tournament.
Just like the previous 2 editions of 2016 and 2014, this year too the 10 participating teams are divided into 2 groups of 5 each. Group A consists of South Africa, England, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and host nation Windies. Group B comprises of 3 time champions Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Ireland and India.
The top 2 teams from each group will qualify for the semi finals which will be played on the 22nd November. The finals will take place on the 24th at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua.
Considering the format of the tournament and recent forms of the teams, it will be important for every team to win atleast 3 out of their 4 matches in the group stage to qualify for the next round. Winning 2 games out of 4 will leave too much of possibilities at fate. The dependency on results from other matches as well as the net runrate might come into play.
Group A –
Considering Group A which features South Africa, England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Windies, the race for top 2 spots will ideally be amongst England, Windies and South Africa. England will surely start as the group favorites with likes of players like Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver, Katherine Brunt, Tammy Beaumont, Danielle Wyatt, Sophie Ecclestone and others. The squad for the tournament is very strong and the experience gained in domestic Kia Super League will surely add more strength to their credentials.
The host nation Windies and South Africa will have to fight closely for the second spot. The recently concluded 5 match T20 series between 2 teams was evenly contested and the honours were shared 2-2 amongst both the teams. Hence, the fight to be in top 2 will be even intense and the team holding their nerves on the crucial match day which is on 15th November will decide the nation’s fate in the tournament.
Windies have lots of star players who have excelled in the format and the previous editions. Captain Stefanie Taylor, all rounders Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews, bowlers Anisa Mohammed and Afy Fletcher backed up by their home support will make this side a force to reckon with in the tournament.
South Africa on the other hand have a good blend of youth and experience and their recent series and acclimatization to the Windies conditions will surely help them in competing for the next round of the tournament. Skipper Dane van Niekerk had a good outing in the ODI format, Lizelle Lee, Wolvaardt, Chloe Tryon, Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus and others will look to take the side to the semis for sure.
Other 2 teams in the group which are Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will surely look to cause some upset in the tournament. Both the teams have some experienced players in their ranks and have been top performers in the shortest format. The Asia Cup champions Bangladesh have caused some upsets in the past and will try their best to reach the semis. However, the recent form is of some concern where they lost 3-0 to Pakistan. Players like Rumana Ahmed, Fargana Hoque, Salma Khatun and others will have to be at their best to take on the likes of England, South Africa and Windies.
Sri Lanka have had a horrid time in the recent past where they lost the 5 match series against India by a margin of 4-0. The experienced skipper Chamari Athapaththu will need support from her team to help their side make it to the semi finals. Siriwardene, Prabodhani had decent outings but the road to the semis will not be easy.
Group A will have some mouth-watering contests and the next 3 weeks will be full of excitement and thrill for us fans. We shall have a look at the Group B preview in the next article.
Fixtures for the T20 Women's World Cup:
Below mentioned timings are as per Indian Standard Time
Nov 9: India Women vs. New Zealand Women (Guyana) 11 AM
Nov 9: Pakistan Women vs. Australia Women (Guyana) 4 PM
Nov 9: West Indies Women vs. Qualifier 1 (Guyana) 8 PM
Nov 10: England Women vs. Sri Lanka Women (ST Lucia) 4 PM
Nov 11: Australia Women vs. Qualifier 2 (Guyana) 4 PM
Nov 11; India Women vs. Pakistan Women (Guyana) 11 AM
Nov 12; England Women vs. Qualifier 1 (ST Lucia) 4 PM
Nov 12: Sri Lanka Women Vs. South Africa Women (ST Lucia) 8 PM
Nov 13: Pakistan Women vs. Qualifier 2 (Guyana) 4 PM
Nov 13– Australia Women vs. New Zealand Women (Guyana) 8 PM
Nov 14: Sri Lanka Women vs. Qualifier 1 (ST Lucia) 4 PM
Nov 14: West Indies Women vs. South Africa Women (ST Lucia) 8 PM
Nov 15: Pakistan Women vs. New Zealand Women (Guyana) 4 PM
Nov 15: India Women vs. Qualifier 2 (Guyana) 11 AM
Nov 16: South Africa Women vs. England Women (ST Lucia) 4 PM
Nov 16: Sri Lanka Women vs. West Indies Women (ST Lucia) 8 PM
Nov 17: Qualifier 2 vs. New Zealand Women (Guyana) 4 PM
Nov 17: India Women vs. Australia Women (Guyana) 11 AM
Nov 18: South Africa Women vs. Qualifier 1 (ST Lucia) 8 PM
Nov 18: West Indies Women vs. England Women (ST Lucia) 4 PM
Nov 22: Semifinals 1 (Antigua)
Nov 22: Semifinals 2 (Antigua)
Nov 24: Finals (Antigua)