The Women’s Cricket World Cup begins tomorrow, with defending champions England in action on Saturday against favourites Australia, so here is everything that you need to know ahead of the tournament.
What is it?
The ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup is a 50-over tournament held every four years that first took place in 1973 – two years before the male equivalent.
England both hosted and won that inaugural edition just as they did in 2017, after an Anya Shrubsole-inspired display saw them defeat India by nine runs at Lord’s.
They are joined in the round-robin group stage by hosts New Zealand, India, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the West Indies, who will all play each other once, before the top four advance to the semi-finals and final to crown a winner.
Australia are the competition’s most successful team, having won six of the 11 World Cups contested so far and are resounding favourites to add a seventh crown to that tally this year.
The Aussies have now won 29 of their last 30 ODIs, with three of these victories being racked up during last month’s Ashes series, where they thrashed England 12-4.
Their sole loss in this period came at home to India last September, which was a result that ended their world-record winning sequence in 50-over cricket at 26.
When is it?
The first match of the Women’s Cricket World Cup takes place on Friday, with New Zealand facing the West Indies, with coverage underway from 12.30am on Sky Sports Cricket.
Sophie Devine’s team will be hoping to emulate the White Ferns side of 2000, who lifted the trophy – New Zealand’s sole triumph in the competition – also on home soil.
England’s campaign commences a day later, where Heather Knight’s side will seek to avenge their Ashes defeat, when they come up against Meg Lanning’s Southern Stars.
England’s schedule for the tournament is as follows:
- vs Australia at Seddon Park (Hamilton) – 1am GMT, 5th March
- vs West Indies at the University Oval (Dunedin) – 10pm GMT, 8th March
- vs South Africa at the Bay Oval (Mount Maunganui) – 10pm GMT, 14th March
- vs India at the Bay Oval – 1am GMT, 16th March
- vs New Zealand at Eden Park (Auckland) – 10pm GMT, 19th March
- vs Pakistan at the Hagley Oval (Christchurch) – 1am GMT, 24th March
- vs Bangladesh at the Basin Reserve (Wellington) – 10pm GMT, 26th March
Should they progress as one of the top four teams in the round-robin stage, England would play in one of the semi-finals on 30th and 31st March, at the Basin Reserve and the Hagley Oval, respectively.
The final then takes place on 3rd April, also at the Hagley Oval.
With the boundary count-back rule – which saw England’s men beat New Zealand in the 2019 50-over World Cup final – scrapped, this year’s competition could be the first decided by multiple Super Overs, with the format simply repeated should the two teams not be separated once they have faced one additional over each.
How may COVID affect the tournament?
The 12th edition of the Women’s Cricket World Cup was originally slated in for 6th February to 7th March 2021, but was postponed to this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, despite this delay, New Zealand’s quarantine rules remain very strict, with visitors currently having to isolate in a hotel for a week upon arrival.
As a result, the tournament’s organisers have decided that, this year, each team in the World Cup can have a squad of 15 players and up to three travelling reserves.
Furthermore, teams depleted by Covid can opt to deploy two female members of support staff as substitute fielders who cannot bat or bowl in order to fulfil their fixtures, if they have only nine available players.
If they decline this option and the game cannot be rescheduled, it will be abandoned, with each team awarded a solitary point.
What are the squads and odds?
England (5/1): Heather Knight (captain), Nat Sciver, Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Amy Jones, Emma Lamb, Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt. Travelling reserve(s): Lauren Bell, Mady Villiers.
Australia (8/11): Meg Lanning (captain), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Rachael Haynes Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington. Travelling reserve(s): Heather Graham, Georgia Redmayne.
New Zealand (11/2): Sophie Devine (captain), Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Amelia Kerr, Frankie Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu. Travelling reserve(s): Molly Penfold
India (7/1): Mithali Raj (captain), Taniya Bhatia, Yastika Bhatia, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Richa Ghosh, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Sneh Rana, Deepti Sharma, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Shafali Verma, Poonam Yadav. Travelling reserve(s): Simran Bahadur, Ekta Bisht, Sabbhineni Meghana.
South Africa (12/1): Tazmin Brits, Trisha Chetty, Mignon du Preez, Lara Goodall, Shabnim Ismail, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune, Chloe Tryon, Laura Wolvaardt. Travelling reserve(s): Anneke Bosch, Nadine de Klerk, Raisibe Ntozakhe.
West Indies (33/1): Stafanie Taylor (captain), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Cherry Ann Fraser, Chinelle Henry, Kycia Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Shakera Selman, Rashada Williams. Travelling reserve(s): Jannillea Glasgow, Mandy Mangru, Kaysia Schultz.
Pakistan (100/1): Bismah Maroof (captain), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz. Travelling reserve(s): Iram Javed, Najiha Alvi Tuba Hassan.
Bangladesh (200/1): Nigar Sultana Joty (captain), Fahima Khatun, Fargana Hoque Pinky, Fariha Islam Trisna, Jahanara Alam, Lata Mondol, Murshida Khatun, Nahida Akter, Ritu Moni, Rumana Ahmed, Salma Khatun, Shamima Sultana, Shanjida Akther Maghla, Sharmin Akter Supta, Sobhana Mostary, Suraiya Azmin. Travelling reserve(s): Nuzhat Tasnia and Sanjida Akter Meghla
You can check out all of SWL’s World Cup coverage here.
Featured Image Credit: Robert Drummond via Wikimedia Commons under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) license