The Women’s T20 World Cup started in Australia on February 21 and will run till March 8. This page will keep you up to date with all the snippets of news from the event.
Shafali Verma, the big-hitting 16-year-old India opening batter, has grabbed the attention of most people following women’s cricket, and Smriti Mandhana, her partner at the top, can’t stop raving about Verma’s impact.
“Shafali has been a huge positive coming into the T20 side,” Mandhana said of the youngster’s 17-ball 39 against Bangladesh. “I used to have a major role in Powerplays, but Shafali is getting quick runs in those first overs now too. She’s made a huge impact and the team has become more balanced thanks to her.”
Next up for India are New Zealand, and Lea Tahuhu, the opening bowler, is aware of the Verma threat, and relishing it too.
“Personally, I love the thought of facing Verma,” Tahuhu said. “It makes me fire up a little bit more and I’m really looking forward to playing her. I actually played her in the T20 Challenge in India last year and I know she’s not going to take a step back.”
Winfield at No. 8 gives us security – Knight
Heather Knight has defended the make-up of England’s batting line-up, which has seen Tammy Beaumont moved into the middle-order and Lauren Winfield picked as a specialist No. 8 batter.
Only Nat Sciver impressed against South Africa with a half-century as England suffered defeat in their opening match, meaning they face must-win matches from here on, but it would appear they will hold fast with their batting game plan.
“We have set [order] in our mind that we want to go with, but there will be certain match-ups that we feel will have more impetus – for example someone is better against spin – we have a clear guideline on the starting order and we’ll be flexible from there,” Knight said ahead of the match against Thailand in Canberra. “The one big positive is the depth of our batting line-up, playing eight batters, and they have different skillsets and talent. We obviously didn’t show it the other night but we are determined to turn it around.”
On using Winfield, who doesn’t offer any bowling, so low down, Knight said her fielding also comes into the equation.
“We feel like another bowler would be wasted, that batter at eight gives us added security. I know she didn’t have a great night the other night, but Lauren is one of the standout fielders for us and at some point we are going to need a batter down at the back end to win us a game and we feel Lauren can do that.”
England would never run out a batter backing up – Sciver
Nat Sciver has said that England would never run out an opposing batter backing up after Katherine Brunt declined the chance to do so in their opening defeat against South Africa.
With the match on a knife edge in the final over, South Africa needing 7 off 4 balls, Brunt gave Sune Luus a warning when she backed up well out of her crease before Brunt had barely entered her delivery leap. Whether it would have changed the game is up for debate as the ball itself wouldn’t have been counted if the run out had taken place, and next delivery Mignon du Preez launched the six that levelled the scores, but England have made their stance on the matter clear.
“She was never going to run her out,” Sciver said. “A bit of drama, isn’t it? I mean one of their bowlers did it to me. I don’t know if she stopped because I moved around and she wanted a bit of a reprieve or she was keeping the other batter in there. I know that none of our team would ever do that. It’s just part of the game, isn’t it?”
South Africa allrounder Marizanne Kapp tweeted “fair play from both teams” after the contest with both sides declining the hotly-debated form of dismissal.
Ayabonga Khaka did exactly the same while brunt was batting, fair play from both teams. https://t.co/mx5Zp0wJMQ
— Marizanne Kapp (@kappie777) February 23, 2020
‘We know how dangerous she can be’ – Haynes on Atapattu
Chamari Atapattu is not just Sri Lanka’s greatest woman cricketer, but she has a particular affinity for the Australia bowlers. That 178 not out in the 2017 50-over World Cup remains one of the great innings in the game, while, more recently, she hit her maiden T20I century against the same opponents.
Australia are in front of Atapattu again, and this time a big innings from her could well rock the hosts’ T20 World Cup campaign, stuttering as it already is after the opening-day loss to India.
“We know how dangerous she can be,” Rachael Haynes said a day off from their game in Perth. “We’ve got ideas on how we want to counter her attack. We’ll plan for her, because she clearly enjoys the ball coming on to the bat at the WACA.”
Atapattu is also the only Sri Lankan player to have taken part in the WBBL, and that should help her.
“I’ve tended to play my best cricket against Australia, but I try to do that against every team,” she said. “I love playing in these conditions and I love playing under pressure, which I think is why I always score against Australia.
“I always say to myself ‘play freely, with courage and be positive’. That’s all it is.”
‘We trust our fielding a lot to get us far’ – Thailand’s Boochatham
The seven-wicket margin did show up the gulf between West Indies and newbies Thailand, but for a while, with the favourites at 27 for 3 in their chase of 79, Thailand might have dreamt of a bit of the improbable.
“We think our performance will make people take us more seriously,” opener Nattaya Boochatham told the ICC. “We have an aggressive mentality and we know it only takes ten balls to create wickets. That’s the plan we stick to.
“We trust our fielding a lot to get us far in the competition. It has given us motivation to do better and show we can compete on the global stage.”
That was on show early on in the West Indies innings when Naruemol Chaiwai knocked down the stumps to run Lee-Ann Kirby out, and though a debut win eluded them in Perth, the show against the 2016 T20 world champions would have ensured that none of their remaining opponents take Thailand lightly.
‘We love a bit of pressure, that’s fine’ – Healy
Just one day into a tournament where they are, or were at least, considered favourites and much is pinned on them reaching the final at the MCG, Australia know they are in a position where they probably can’t afford another mistake.
The 17-run defeat against India at the Sydney Showground means they flew to Perth on Saturday chastened and needing to find a balance between reflecting and moving on. The next two matches against Sri Lanka (at the WACA) and Bangladesh (in Canberra) should be more comfortable affairs, which leaves the Trans-Tasman clash against New Zealand in Melbourne as a potentially mouth-watering occasion.
“We love a bit of pressure, that’s fine,” Alyssa Healy said. “We always talk that you can’t go through this tournament undefeated. Obviously you don’t want to lose the first game, but you often take more out of a loss than a win so we’ll take all the positives and leave the negatives aside, one of the blessings of our crazy schedule is that we don’t have a lot of time to dwell on it.”
Australia have never been beaten by Sri Lanka but they have the threat of Chamari Atapattu at the top of the order who takes her game to a new level when playing them. On last year’s tour she scored a T20I and ODI hundred which followed her magnificent unbeaten 178 at the 2017 World Cup.
“We aren’t taking any team lightly, it’s a really tough pool, and we love that,” Healy said. “Charmari loves facing our attack, has hit us to all parts of the ground the last couple of years. We’ll prepare as best we can, get our plans in place, and if we do that we’ll be okay.”
Australia favourites but India no pushover – Mithali Raj
Former India captain Mithali Raj has backed the current team to give Australia a run for their money in the opening match of the T20 World Cup in Sydney on Friday.
“Australia go in as favourites, but India will be no pushover,” she said in her ICC column. “They have some very talented players and I think it will be a very close, high-scoring game. Both teams have exciting players, particular in the batting units, and it will be a case of whoever can score the runs that their country need on the day.
“I do think Australia have the advantage because of their T20 record and have a slightly better chance of winning the first game against India but no matter what, it’s going to be a very exciting way to open the tournament.”
Raj, who played 10 Tests, 209 ODIs and 80 T20Is, said that more and more teams were now becoming competitive in the women’s game.
“The gap between the top and bottom teams is closing. You can’t go by the practice matches alone, but it does give you a rough indication of how the tournament could play out. Take Sri Lanka beating England for example — there is a possibility that could happen again. When you see these scores, and tight games, there is so much more quality now in the game, even just since the last edition of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. Teams like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh can compete too.”
Strano replaces Vlaeminck as Australia suffer big blow
Australia have called offspinner Molly Strano into their World Cup squad after it was confirmed that fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck would miss the tournament with a stress injury to her right foot.
Vlaeminck reported pain in her foot, with scans revealing a stress response of the third metatarsal and signs of an early stress fracture of the navicular – a bone in the top inner side of the foot.
“Tayla has been in brilliant form of late and established herself as one of the premier fast bowlers in international cricket,” Australia coach Matthew Mott said, “No one ever wants to see a player miss a major tournament in these kinds of circumstances, but I have no doubt she will bounce back from this setback and play a leading role in Australian squads for many years to come.”
“We are fortunate to have great depth across Australian cricket and Molly enters the squad in great form having recently been named the domestic player of the year.”
Strano has played five T20Is for Australia having debuted in 2017 and comes into the side off the back of a good season that saw her finish as the leading wicket-taker in the WBBL.
Vlaeminck set to miss World Cup
Australia fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck looks set to be ruled out of the T20 World Cup after picking up a foot injury just 48 hours before their opening match against India.
Vlaeminck, one of the fastest bowlers in the game, was wearing a moon boot during a team function in Sydney on Wednesday afternoon. More information is expected when Australia train at Sydney Showgrounds on Thursday, but team-mates are preparing for the news to not be too good for Vlaeminck, who has previously suffered a torrid injury list and has had two knee reconstructions.
“The medical staff are working through [it] but anything that requires a moon boot isn’t overly great,” Ellyse Perry said. “The whole squad has their fingers and toes crossed for Tay, but I don’t think it’s overly positive.”
Vlaeminck, who made her T20I debut during the previous World Cup in the West Indies, took seven wickets in three matches during the recent triangular series with England and India, rattling batters from both sides with her pace which was set to prove a telling point of difference to Australia’s attack.
England humbled during warm-up defeat
Chamari Atapattu inspired her Sri Lanka side to a surprise ten-wicket thrashing of England in both team’s final warm-up game before the tournament. England’s reshuffled batting line-up never got started, with Shashikala Siriwardene and Atapattu taking 4 for 22 and 3 for 21 respectively, before Atapattu crunched a 50-ball 78 to seal a ten-wicket win with 45 balls to spare.
Left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone in particular came in for some rough treatment, being hit for three sixes by Atapattu, while Freya Davies and Anya Shrubsole both proved expensive. While the game was not an official T20 international, Sri Lanka have never beaten England in the format, and have won only once in 15 completed ODIs against them, marking this out as a major upset.
“It was a disappointing performance, but I’d rather we got it out of the way ahead of the World Cup,” said England’s captain Heather Knight. “Chamari batted really well for Sri Lanka and she just took the game away from us. It might give us a little kick up the backside, which might not be a bad thing.
“We’re still in a good place. We’ve played a lot of good cricket over here and we need to take that into our first game against South Africa.”
Kulasuriya cleared of serious injury
There was a scary moment during Sri Lanka’s warm-up match against South Africa in Adelaide on Sunday when Achini Kulasuriya was struck on the head as she misjudged a catch as the two teams practiced a Super Over following the completion of their full game.
Kulasuriya lay on the ground for a period of time as she was treated by medical staff before being taken off a stretcher and sent to hospital. However, she was released back to the team hotel later in the day without a serious injury.
Speaking at the captain’s day in Sydney on Monday, Chamari Atapattu said Kulasuriya would miss Sri Lanka’s next warm-up match against England tomorrow but is expected to be fit for the start of the tournament itself when Sri Lanka face New Zealand in Perth.
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