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ICC Press Release: Who will win? The beauty of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 starting 9 November in the Caribbean is that there are no clear favourites.
Highly competitive matches in the offing as top stars fight it out in path-breaking ICC Women’s World T20 2018

Who will win? The beauty of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 starting 9 November in the Caribbean is that there are no clear favourites.

Sure, Australia have three titles to their name and are generally acknowledged as the biggest threat, but they have not won a world title in any format since 2014. England are the ICC Cricket World Cup 2017 champions, but have not dominated world cricket since their giddy highs in 2009. New Zealand have worn the favourites tag in previous tournaments, but have not worn a crown since 2000. The Windies are the defending champions, but can the support of the home crowd take them to the summit again?

There are so many questions going into the tournament, but few answers. And yet there are certainties: the tournament will make history, becoming the first ever stand-alone Women’s World T20, marking the true departure of women’s cricket from the shadow of the men’s game.

It will also be the first in which every single game is televised, ensuring that the world can watch the best cricketers at work from the comfort of their homes. And it will be the first time the DRS is used in all matches of a global women’s tournament, ensuring that the women’s game moves forward aided by the best technology.

The numbers indicate the time is right for such ground-breaking moves to define a new norm. More than 180 million people watched the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, and 70% of the ICC’s billion fans surveyed last year expressed an interest in watching more women’s cricket. And with the tournament being played out in the West Indies, it is likely to encapsulate everything that is so special about cricket in this region- that unique combination of cricket, music and entertainment. The stage could not be set better.

Defending champions the Windies will look to use home advantage to become only the second team after England to win an ICC Women’s World T20 at home. Their win in the 2016 edition has made the possibility of a world champion from beyond the usual suspects more than a possibility.

While you could predict who the semifinalists would be five years ago, both groups contain at least three teams each who will challenge for the top two spots and a chance to play in Antigua and Barbuda, where the semifinals and finals will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.

Group A features ODI champions England and T20 champions the Windies, along with Asian Champions Bangladesh. South Africa will look to improve on their semi-final finish at the ICC Women’s World Cup last year, and Sri Lanka will play with little to lose. The teams will play in the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground in St. Lucia.

Providence Stadium in Georgetown, Guyana will host Group B, featuring two teams hungry for a world title - Australia and New Zealand. India will be keen to build on recent form and improve their patchy reputation in the shortest format. Pakistan have some exciting young players and a new captain, and Ireland are looking for a top-eight finish which will earn them automatic qualification to the next ICC Women’s World T20.

The tournament will feature talent both seen and unseen on the world stage. The class of Stafanie Taylor, Meg Lanning and Heather Knight will be complemented by the firepower of Harmanpreet Kaur, Deandra Dottin and Lizelle Lee.

Young Tayla Vlaeminck of Australia will give established quicks like Shabnim Ismail a run for her money in the fast bowling department. And expect leg spinners to have a say in how the tournament unfolds, India’s Poonam Yadav in particular. This will also be the first ICC tournament since the revisions made to the playing conditions in October 2017, which have made the game even more watchable.

Both on and off the field, women’s cricket is on the cusp of history. If the growth has been like a river steadily gaining water and speed, the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 now represents the waterfall, poised to grow at a speed and in a direction never seen before.

Australia are the top-ranked side in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s T20I Team Rankings with 281 points but with New Zealand only four points behind and England a further one point behind, the possibilities of a shake up is very much on the cards.

The 10-team tournament will also feature the top names fighting it out in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s T20I Player Rankings with the home side having three of the top four players in the list of all-rounders – captain Stafanie Taylor (first), Hayley Matthews (second) and Deandra Dottin (fourth).

Suzie Bates, New Zealand’s captain until recently, is the top-ranked batter while Australia’s Meg Schutt is the leading bowler in the rankings. Others to feature in the top-five of different lists include Australia captain Meg Lanning (third) and Beth Mooney (fourth) in the batters’ list, India’s Poonam Yadav (second) and Pakistan’s left-arm spinner Anam Amin (fourth) among bowlers and Australia’s Ellyse Perry (third) in the list of all-rounders.

 

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