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Australia hosts India with an aim to extend ICC Women’s Championship lead

Goswami needs eight wickets to become all-time leading wicket-taker; South Africa plays England from February 7-14 at home

Australia hosts India with an aim to extend ICC Women’s Championship lead
 - Cricket News
Number-one ranked Goswami needs eight wickets to become all-time leading wicket-taker.
ICC Women’s Championship braces itself for some exciting, entertaining and highly competitive cricket over the next couple of weeks when leading sides, which include some of the top performers in the women’s cricket, go head to head with an aim to strengthen their claims of directly qualifying for next year’s ICC Women’s World Cup in England. 

Co-leader Australia hosts seventh-placed India in a three-match ODI series, starting in Canberra on 2 February, while an unbeaten fourth-placed South Africa hosts fifth-placed England in Benoni in first of the three ODIs on 7 February.

The top four sides from the ICC Women’s Championship will gain automatic qualification for the event proper, which is to be staged in England from 4-27 August, while the bottom four sides will get a final chance of qualification through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in 2017.

The tournament structure sees each team play each other in one home or away series that will include three ODIs over a two-and-a-half year period. As such, each side is guaranteed at least 21 ODIs over the tournament period. 

Australia currently has the same number points as the West Indies, but it has played one less round of matches. A series win against India will give it the sole possession of the top spot in the Championship table. 

England, meanwhile, needs to win all the three matches if it wants to displace South Africa from the fourth spot. 

Australia, despite losing the Twenty20 International series 1-2, will start as favourite against India. It has won eight of the nine Championship matches to date, has the home advantage as well as an impressive 13-3 head-to-head record against Mitali Raj’s side.

Australia is keen to win this series, but it has an eye on the bigger picture as well. 

Captain Meg Lanning, who won the ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year 2015 in December and is the number-one ranked batter, said: “We’ve got two big series coming up against India and New Zealand which should place us really well heading into the upcoming ICC Women’s World Twenty20. 

“We look forward to testing ourselves – and hopefully cementing our top spot in the ICC Women’s Championship – before getting ready to defend our title in India. We’re raring to go.”

Coach Matthew Mott added his players were in top form. “It’s been a big summer for women’s cricket in Australia, which has given our players great preparation leading into our upcoming series against India at home. 

“It’s an exciting time for women’s cricket and we’ve got a number of opportunities for players to put their hand up and press for Australia selection for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20.” 

India, meanwhile, has a chance to rise as high as fourth in the Championship table if it wins all three games. India is yet to win a series in the Championship to date, having lost to New Zealand and South Africa at home by an identical margin of 2-1, and to England 2-0.

It is Raj and her side’s first trip to Australia in seven years and the number-six ranked batter in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for ODI Batters believes her side can improve.

“India definitely is not in the position we would like to be in and it will be our earnest endeavor to get to being one of the top teams,” the top-order batter said.

She added: “We do have a lot of young talent and the experience in Jhulan and me to combine well and get to the top places where India should belong and that is our mission Down under. It will be a tough and a challenging series and we want to give it all and our efforts should and will improve the rankings”

Over in South Africa, the early focus in the three-match ODI series between the host and England would be on visiting wicketkeeper-batter Sarah Taylor, who is set to win her 100th ODI cap during the series. When Taylor will take the field, she will become the 23rd player overall, and seventh Englishwoman to achieve this milestone

England coach Mark Robinson is glad to have her in his squad: “Sarah Taylor is a hugely talented player and has been a key member of the England women’s squad for a decade now, which is a remarkable achievement for someone who is still only 26 years old. 

“To have a player with her level of experience, and the ability to do something extraordinary, is a big positive for the squad.”

Eight England and four South Africa players have been getting crucial match practice by featuring in Australia’s domestic women’s competition, which, according to England captain Charlotte Edwards has been very useful.

“The tournament itself presented us with a good opportunity to test our skills in a new environment, alongside exposing us to high pressure situations, and the challenge of being match winners for our teams.  I am certain that all of this combined will have helped to develop us as cricketers,” Edwards said.

South Africa is yet to lose a series in the Championship, but in eight ODIs played against England since 2006, South African’s tally reads - played eight, lost eight.

South African Coach Hilton Moreeng is aware that the series against England will be a challenging one.

“We know it is going to be a tough assignment due to the quality of England squad. Our approach will be to take it one match at a time and compete for every point available. The team has done well so far to be in the top four after playing our first three series away from home. It would be a competitive series due to the quality of players in both teams and what is at stake.”

In the MRF ICC Women’s Player Rankings, Lanning leads the batting charts while Sarah Taylor has the chance to stake a sole claim of second position, which she currently shares with Suzie Bates of New Zealand. Fifth-ranked Edwards too has an opportunity to make her way up the rankings as she is just 22 points behind her teammate.

Apart from Raj, India’s Harmanpreet Kaur, who is her side’s leading run-scorer with 215 runs in eight matches is seventh.

Amongst the bowlers, India’s Jhulan Goswami leads the pack. She is 109 points ahead of her closest rival Anisa Mohammed of the West Indies and England’s Katherine Brunt, who share second position. The former India captain has taken 173 wickets to date and needs eight more wickets to move ahead of Australia’s Cathryn Fitzpatrick as the leading wicket-taker in women’s cricket.

Australia’s Ellyse Perry and Erin Osborne are in fifth and ninth places, respectively.

Keep an eye out for some major shifts in these rankings as the ICC Women’s Championship moves into top gear, come February.

India: Mithali Raj (c), Jhulan Goswamy (vc), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana ,Niranjana Nagarajan, Shikha Pandey, Kalpana R, Sneh Rana ,Poonam Raut,  MD Thirushkamini,  Sushma Verma, Poonam Yadav
Coach: Purnima Rau
Australia: Meg Lanning(c), Alex Blackwell, Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt Key
Coach: Matthew Mott

England: Charlotte Edwards (c), Katherine Brunt, Kathryn Cross   Georgia Elwiss, Lydia Greenway, Rebecca Grundy, Jenny Gunn, Danielle Hazell, Amy Jones, Heather Knight (vice-captain), Tammi Beaumont, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt
Coach: Mark Robinson

South Africa: tba

Forthcoming matches in ICC Women’s Championship: 

Australia v India

2 Feb – 1st ODI, Canberra

5 Feb – 2nd ODI, Hobart

7 Feb – 3rd ODI, Hobart 

South Africa v England

7 Feb – 1st ODI, Benoni

12 Feb – 2nd ODI, Centurion

14 Feb – 3rd ODI, Johannesburg 

New Zealand v Australia

20 Feb – 1st ODI, Mount Maunganui

22 Feb – 2nd ODI, Mount Maunganui 

24 Feb – 2nd ODI, Mount Maunganui 

South Africa vs West Indies

24 Feb – 1st ODI, East London

27 Feb – 2nd ODI, East London 

29 Feb – 3rd ODI, East London  

Points table

Note – two points for a win, no point for a loss and one point for a no-result

MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Team Rankings (after the conclusion of the India-Australia T20I’s on 31 Jan, 2016)
Ranking         Team              Points

1                      Australia            131

2                      England             124

3                      New Zealand     112

4                      India                  109

5                      West Indies       102

6                      South Africa       92

7                      Pakistan             80

8                      Sri Lanka           72

9                      Bangladesh        47

10                    Ireland               31      

MRF Tyres ICC Women’s ODI Player Rankings (as on 31 January, before the start of India-Australia and South Africa-England series)

Rank     Player             Team          Points    Avge      Highest Ranking
   1            Meg Lanning       Aus         796*!    47.21     796 v Eng at Worcester 2015
   2=        Suzie Bates          NZ          717        39.18     734 v WI at Kingston 2013
                 Sarah Taylor       Eng         717        40.22     803 v Aus at Chelmsford 2009
   4            Stafanie Taylor   WI          702        45.62     765 v Ind at St Kitts (WP) 2012
   5            C Edwards           Eng         695          38.21    749 v NZ at Lincoln 2015
   6            Mithali Raj          Ind          679        48.82     839 v Aus at Baroda Vadodara 2004
   7            H Kaur               Ind            643        35.62     678 v SA at Bangalore 2014
   8            Ellyse Perry          Aus         640!      38.86      640 v Eng at Worcester 2015
   9            Rachel Priest        NZ          589!       32.97     589 v SL at Christchurch 2015
  10          Alex Blackwell    Aus         570        33.29     683 v Ind at Canberra 2008
Selected Others:
Rank      Player                   Team     Points    Avge      Highest Ranking
  13         Jessica Cameron Aus         555        37.20      660 v Pak at Brisbane 2014            
  17          Lydia Greenway Eng         543        30.13      664 v NZ at Lincoln 2012
  19          Mignon du Preez SA           520        31.82      540 v SL at Potchefstroom 2013
  20          Heather Knight   Eng         504        28.20      537 v Ind at Scarborough 2014
  21          Dane v Niekerk   SA           486*      29.66      486 v Pak at Sharjah 2015
  22          Trisha Chetty      SA           483        28.75      531 v SL at Potchefstroom 2013
  23          Marizanne Kapp SA           474        29.46      539 v SL at Colombo (SSC) 2014
  25          Nicole Bolton      Aus         433*       50.54      433 v Eng at Worcester 2015
  27          Jhulan Goswami Ind          401        13.44      430 v NZ at Bangalore 2015
  29         Natalie Sciver       Eng         395*      34.20      428 v Aus at Taunton 2015
  30         Lizelle Lee             SA           392*   28.61      392 v Pak at Sharjah 2015

Rank      Player                   Team     Points    Avge      Econ      Highest Ranking
   1            J Goswami           Ind          765      20.98        3.16       796 v Eng at Chennai 2007
   2            A Mohammed     WI          656      17.72        3.23       704 v Aus at Sydney 2014
                K Brunt                Eng           656      23.26        3.37       796 v Ind at Mumbai 2013
   4           Stafanie Taylor    WI          647      18.62        3.09       768 v NZ at Kingston 2013
   5           Ellyse Perry           Aus         608      24.08        4.25       698 v Ind at Mumbai 2012
   6           Shibnam Ismail   SA           583*   18.40        3.45       595 v SL at Colombo (SSC) 2014
   7           Jenny Gunn          Eng         582     27.63         3.77       693 v Ind at Scarborough 2014
   8           Dane v Niekerk    SA           579*   16.13        3.24       583 v Ind at Bangalore 2014
   9           Erin Osborne         Aus         552     25.18         4.02       581 v Eng at Melbourne 2014
  10         Sana Mir               Pak         550     25.10         3.46       610 v SA at Sharjah 2015
Selected Others:
Rank       Player               Team      Points    Ave       Econ        Highest Ranking
   12         Sunette Loubser  SA           526*      17.40     3.06       568 v Pak at Doha 2014
   14          Sarah Coyte       Aus         509*!    21.11     4.19       509 v Eng at Worcester 2015
  16          Danielle Hazell    Eng         503*      33.91     3.91       545 v NZ at Lincoln 2015
  17          Ekta Bisht            Ind          500*!    21.59     3.55       500 v NZ at Bangalore 2015
  18          Marizanne Kapp SA           498*      24.24     3.59       533 v Ind at Bangalore 2014
  19          Jess Jonassen       Aus         476*!    22.18     4.25       476 v Eng at Worcester 2015
  20          Anya Shrubsole  Eng         469*!    29.65     4.26       469 v Aus at Worcester 2015
  25          Laura Marsh       Eng         428         27.90     3.90       711 v Aus at Perth 2011
  27          Marcia Letsoalo SA           417*!    34.30     3.38       417 v Pak at Sharjah 2015
  28          R Gayakwad       Ind         413*!      15.16     2.70       413 v NZ at Bangalore 2015
Rank       Player                  Team    Points      Highest Ranking
  1             Stafanie Taylor     WI        454           560 v NZ at Kingston 2013
  2             Ellyse Perry          Aus        389!         389 v Eng at Worcester 2015
  3             Suzie Bates          NZ         315!         315 v SL at Christchurch 2015
  4             J Goswami           Ind         307!         307 v NZ at Bangalore 2015
  5             Dane v Niekerk   SA          281*/*!   281 v Pak at Sharjah 201

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