The 2022 edition of the Women’s World Cup is scheduled to begin on 4th March 2022. Being held in New Zealand for the third time, the marquee event in the women’s calendar will consist of 31 matches culminating in the finals on April 3rd at Christchurch.
There are a total of 8 teams participating in the tournament. Australia, England, South Africa and India obtained direct entry to the tournament along with the host New Zealand. With the Qualifier for the tournament canceled mid-way last year, the final 3 spots were determined through the ODI rankings at the end of the league, which meant that Bangladesh, Pakistan and West Indies made the cut.
The 8 teams will be playing each other once in a round-robin format and the top four teams will advance to the knockouts.
England will begin their campaign on March 5th taking on arch-rivals Australia at Hamilton.
England were on a hot run in the last World Cup held at home in 2017, losing only their opening game against India before beating teams like Australia and New Zealand en route to the finals. They extracted their revenge against India by beating them in the final with the inspiring bowling performance by Anya Shrubsole to derail the Indian chase and winning the trophy.
However, since then, the current champions have not had the best of fortunes in this format. They have won 24 games but have lost 16 of them, including all the 3 series against Australia which were a part of the Ashes – one at home and two in Australia. They will have a lot to fix going by their recent performance, where they were blanked by Australia 3-0.
|Played||Won||Lost||No Result||Win %|
England have announced a 15-member squad for the tournament:
Main Squad: Heather Knight (captain), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Amy Jones (wicket-keeper), Emma Lamb, Nat Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt
Reserve Players: Lauren Bell, Mady Villiers
Sarah Glenn was initially named as one of the reserve players for the tournament but decided to make herself unavailable.
- Consistent Performers:
Notwithstanding their recent drubbing at the hands of Australia, the England team has been performing consistently and among the top few teams heading into the tournament. In the latest ICC Women’s Championship that served as a precursor to this tournament, they were ranked second only to Australia. Their record in this tournament has also been quite good as evident from the following table:
|Placements||No. of Occasions||Instances|
|Champions||4||1973, 1993, 2009, 2017|
|Runners-Up||3||1978, 1982, 1988|
|Semi-Finalists & Below||4||1997, 2000, 2005, 2013|
They have featured in the finals of the tournament on as many as 7 occasions, winning them on 4 occasions and losing 3 times, all to Australia.
- Nice Mix of Youth & Experience:
England have a handful of experienced players coupled with talented youngers in their squad. The captain, Heather Knight, along with Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Winfield-Hill and Danielle Wyatt complement the likes of Emma Lamb and Amy Jones. Sophia Dunkley has already displayed her credentials in the middle order. Anya Shrubsole, Katherine Brunt and Sophie Ecclestone will be supported by talented youngsters like Charlie Dean, Freya Davies and Tash Farrant. Nat Sciver is also dependable with both bat and ball.
- Good Bowling Attack:
The England bowling is led by the dangerously accurate Anya Shrubsole. An experienced pace bowler, she can turn a match on its head alone as she had shown in the World Cup final of 2017. With the likes of Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Nat Sciver, Freya Davies and Tash Farrant, there are several pace bowlers to choose from, a great asset for a country like New Zealand, well-known to assist pace bowlers. Then there are also the likes of Sophie Ecclestone, one of England’s premier spinners. She can be supported by Charlie Dean as the second spinner in the XI. Heather Knight is also known to bowl regularly in ODIs and has claimed 50 wickets already.
The following table illustrates their bowling depth:
|Player||Matches||Runs||Wickets||Average||Economy Rate||Strike Rate|
- Underperforming batting unit:
Although England are known to many as a complete team in the women’s circuit, they are prone to underperformance of their batting. Their batting had failed miserably against Australia recently as they failed to score above 200 in any of their 3 games. Even in their earlier series against New Zealand, they had failed to reach 200 on 2 out of the 5 occasions. The following table shows their batting performance in their last 10 ODIs (most recent first).
|Opponent||Final Score||Overs||Result (Won/Lost)|
|New Zealand||347/5||50 overs||Won|
|New Zealand||245/7||49.3 overs||Won|
|New Zealand||178||48.3 overs||Lost|
|New Zealand||197||43.3 overs||Won|
|New Zealand||241||49.3 overs||Won|
Another concern is that they had failed to bat out their quota of overs on most occasions. Also, even most of the matches that they won were actually very close encounters which could have gone either way. Such a performance at the stage of the World Cup could have a devastating impact on the result.
- Exciting young talent:
This World Cup could be a great time for the youngsters to make their presence known in the English cricket team. As many as 10 cricketers would be featuring in a World Cup game for the first time, including certainties like Sophie Ecclestone, Amy Jones and Kate Cross, who are now regulars in the XI. However, players like Sophia Dunkley (10 ODIs), Charlie Dean (7 ODIs), Tash Farrant and Freya Davies (6 ODIs each) have not played too many games so will be looking to make a mark in the team. Emma Lumb, Lauren Bell and Mady Villiers are yet to make their ODI debut.
- Versatile bowling options:
The variety and the depth within the bowling attack will be a good thing as they can tweak their combination around as they would like. They have a lot of pace bowlers to make up a 4-1 attack in the wickets known for pace. If the pitches seem used and aids spin, they could also look at a 3-2 combination bringing spinners into play. The quality is there so both these combinations can be equally threatening.
- Could be affected by Early Losses:
After their game against Australia, which they could easily lose, they face teams like West Indies, India, South Africa and New Zealand next. If they lose one or two more games out of these, their survival in the competition may be threatened.
Despite the fragile batting performance over the last few months, England are still quite formidable compared to the rest of the pack, barring Australia. They would be looking forward to another good performance in the World Cup and will look to make it to the knockout stage, which is a strong probability. Their progression to the finals could be dependent on who they face in the knockouts and how they perform.