The ICC women world cup is underway in England and Wales, and is making news for all the right reasons. This is the eleventh edition of the cup that was first held in 1973 (also in England) two years before the Men’s world cup debuted in 1975.
Australia are the defending champions, having won the 2013 event. If they go on to win this edition, that would make it the record 7th title for them.
Besides Australia and the host nation England; South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and West Indies are the participating teams in the tournament.
In the ODI tournament that kicked off on June 24th, all eight teams are required to play each other once, the format is identical to that of the 1992 Men’s Cricket World Cup that Pakistan ended up winning. The top four teams at the table are going to qualify for the semifinals of the event.
So far, the cup has seen some really great performances from the likes of six times winners Australia, England, along with India, South Africa and New Zealand. Rest of the teams’ performances have been dismal to say the least with West Indies managing only one win out of 5 and Pakistan and Sri Lanka still hoping for their first victory. The points table is showing how close the fight is between the top 5 but at the same time, it shows how much work needs to be done by the teams at the bottom half of the table.
Pakistan were hoping to have a much better tournament after having beaten the West Indies team in the practice match chasing a fairly huge target. It was a sign of good things to come but unfortunately, that didn’t happen and Pakistan team failed to register a single win during the tournament, albeit it was encouraging to see Pakistan giving a good fight to South Africa in their very first game. Pakistan also bowled superbly against India to restrict them to a low total of 169 but couldn’t capitalize on that and ended up getting bowled out for a meagre 74.
West Indies, with only a single win (against Sri Lanka) so far are having a horrible tournament compared to the 2013 women’s world cup where they lost to Australia in the final of the event.
Talking about some of the moments of the tournament so far, Mithali Raj of India became the first player in the history of women’s game to score seven consecutive ODI half-centuries when she scored 71 in the first game of the world cup against England.
England smashed Pakistan for 377 for 7 which is the second highest team total in world cups by any team.
Sri Lanka’s Chamari Atapattu scored an unbeaten 178 against Australia to rescue her team from a miserable score of 130-6 to end up with a team total of 258. Atapattu’s 178 is the third highest score in the history of women’ cricket. In the same match, Australia’s Meg Lanning scored an unbeaten 152 to help her team chase the steep target set by Sri Lanka courtesy Atapattu’s brilliance. This was the first time in ODI history of women’s cricket that two players scored 150 plus in the same game.
Just as I am penning down this article, England saw themselves climb to the top of the table by securing their first win over Australia since 1993. It was a nail-biter which went right down to the last ball of the game. Australia needed to get a 6 off the last ball but failed to do so resulting in an English victory.
Some of the experts have suggested that the ICC needs to revamp the women’s ODI game and introduce a 30 overs format in order to gain more audience, inducing faster pace and a more competitive cricket. Whether that’s a practical suggestion or not, the ICC definitely have their work cut out if the gap in the quality between the upper half and the lower half of the table is to be closed. The most successful way to do it is to help teams like Pakistan and Sri Lanka get more games against the better opponents, the example of Bangladesh men team needs to be followed who gradually kept getting better when they were given a better run at the highest level.
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