2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Preview
By Peter Moore
The seventh ICC Women’s World T20 World Cup will be held in Australia from the 21st February until 8th March 2020.
The Tournament will feature ten teams consisting of the eight top ranked sides based on finishing positions from the 2018 T20 World Cup, with Bangladesh and Thailand progressing into the finals via the qualifiers.
For the first time at the Women’s T20 World Cup, the ICC have announced the use of technology to monitor front-foot no balls for the tournament. The third umpire will call the front-foot no balls, communicating with the on-field umpires.
Let’s look at the ten sides participating in the tournament.
The current holders are certainly the team to beat, having won 23 of their 26 T20’s in 2018 and 2019.
Under Matthew Mott at the helm and the experienced Meg Lanning running affairs on the field, there are clearly no obvious weakness in this side.
Having the world’s top-ranked T20 bowler Megan Schutt in your side undoubtably helps, as well as three fine all rounders in the shape of Ashleigh Gardner, Jess Jonassen and Sophie Molineux. Add in Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry, they are without doubt deserved favourites.
With series wins already this year against England and Sri Lanka, and suffering just a single T20 defeat in 2019, this Aussie side look certain to go all the way again, having only once failed to reach the final and having won the event no less than four times already.
In their three appearances to date, Bangladesh have never made it past the first round. However, in the last two years they have beaten both India and Pakistan for the first time.
Bangladesh came through a tough qualifying process beating Thailand, Netherlands, USA, Papa New Guinea, Scotland and Ireland along the way.
In the recent thrashing of the Maldives, Nigar Sultana made the highest ever individual T20 score of any Bangladeshi woman. In terms of bowling, Bangladesh will look to the pairings of Nahida Akter and Jahanara Alam who have taken 35 wickets between them in T20’s in 2019.
Under the new leadership of Lisa Keightley, there is little doubt that they will be among Australia’s closest challengers.
A terrific opening pair of Danni Wyatt and Amy Jones and a strong middle order should see plenty of runs posted. The one weakness looks to be in the bowling.
In 13 T20’s in 2019, England won 11 of them. They were beaten twice against a very strong Australian side with defeats at Hove and Chelmsford.
Despite successfully winning the first edition of the tournament on home soil back in 2009, England have finished runners up in 2012,2014 and 2018. Four times finalists have only once failed to get beyond the group stage, and that was back in 2010.
If any side can run Australia close, then this England side look the side most capable of wrestling the trophy back from the current holders.
Perennial underachievers are probably the best way to describe India, but now with strength in depth, this side could well go a long way in the tournament.
Despite the retirement of Mithali Raj from T20’s, with India’s hopes now resting on a promising 16-year-old Shafali Verma. In a batting line up that promises to produce, look out for the likes of Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur are proven match winners.
Last year India whitewashed 2016 T20 World Champions West Indies, but the side struggled against both England and New Zealand. However, preparations for this tournament did see India defeat England for just the fourth time ever in a tri-series that also featured Australia.
Aside from being semi finalists in 2009,2010 and 2018, India haven’t got past the first round on four other occasions.
With Sophie Devine available, there is a sense that anything might just be possible for the White Ferns.
Devine, is in the form of her life having enjoyed a very successful Women’s Big Bash campaign. The all-rounder will be a key player for the Kiwis as will up and coming 19-year-old Amelia Kerr. Nobody in the history of the T20 World Cup can match the bulk of runs that Suzie Bates has scored as well.
New Zealand had a quiet 2019, playing only three T20’s in 2019, winning all three against India. The White Ferns went into this tournament on the back of a three match bilateral series win against South Africa.
Despite being finalists in 2009 and 2010, overall it has been a sorry tale for New Zealand in the tournament.
Pakistan are certainly a much improved all round outfit, despite missing Sana Mir, the veteran off spinner whose absence will be missed.
Without her, Pakistan will look towards 16-year-old spinner Syeda Aroob Shah. The youngster has enormous potential to be a big star of the future. In terms of runs, Pakistan will be looking to Bismah Raroof.
Recent results for Pakistan include three wins over Bangladesh alongside victories over South Africa and West Indies.
Pakistan have never made it past the group stages of the Women’s T20 World Cup, winning only six games out of 24.
South Africa can boast one of the most exciting squads in the Women’s World T20 World Cup.
In Dane van Niekerk, Lizelle Lee, Mignon du Preez, Marzianne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail they have a group of match winners, with Ismail the third highest wicket taker in the competition.
South Africa go into the tournament on the back of a run of five defeats out of 12. Only once in 2014 have they made it past the group stage, but this year they are very much dark horses for the Tournament.
Like Pakistan, Sri Lanka have never progressed past the first round of this competition. For that to change this time around, they will be looking to Chamari Atapattu, the opening batsman who comes into the tournament in excellent form, having struck two centuries against Australia in six games last year.
Sri Lanka come into this T20 World Cup on the back of a dreadful run, having played nine T20’s against South Africa, Australia and England, beaten in all nine.
Thailand arrive in Australia as the first side to make their T20 World Cup bow since 2014, when Ireland and Bangladesh appeared for the very first time.
Thailand won 17 consecutive T20’s between 2018 and 2019, before that winning run was ended by Scotland. Qualification was secured for the finals after beating Papa New Guinea in Dundee last September.
Look out for bowler Nattaya Boochatham, who has taken more wickets than any lady in T20’s in 2019.
Winners in 2016 and semi-finalists in every World Cup since 2010, are once again a side to be feared.
Under the astute captaincy of Stafanie Taylor, and the recalls of Deandra Dottin and Haylew Matthews alongside Lee- AnnKirby- back in the side for the first time since 2008, they are a side who cannot be discounted.
West Indies arrive in Australia on the back of a poor year. They have not won a T20 since beating Ireland last May, but you can certainly ignore that form as the Windies will be a difficult side to beat.