England and Australia won the first two editions, but with conditions so different in Sri Lanka, it’s best to wait before picking favourites
The first women's Twenty20 International was played in 2005. Seven years and two successful ICC World Twenty20 tournaments later, eight teams are in the final stages of preparation for the third edition that begins in Galle on September 26.
England clinched the first ICC Women's World Twenty20 in 2009 in front of a packed house at Lord's. The level of intensity displayed by the England team, led by Charlotte Edwards, on the big day was such that even the New Zealand coach admitted that the clash was akin to a bunch of amateurs playing against the pros. It was a dominant performance, which saw England bowl New Zealand out for 85, before chasing it down with six wickets and more than three overs to spare.
The result may not have been surprising, but given that both teams breezed into the final without a loss, the manner in which New Zealand caved in was perhaps an indication of the gulf between the two sides.
India and Australia, the losing semi-finalists in 2009, went up against New Zealand and England, having lost once in the group stages. But while Australia challenged England by setting them a competitive 163 to win, India put up little fight in a 52-run loss to New Zealand.
If 2009 set the bar in terms of what to expect, the 2010 edition had a lot of surprises in store. The biggest shock of the tournament was England’s ouster from the group stages. A loss in its opening game against Australia meant that it went into the last group game against West Indies knowing that nothing less than a win would ensure progress. Chasing 123, England was well on its way at 66 for no loss, but an unfamiliar batting collapse saw it lose the next four wickets for just six runs. It ended up losing by three runs.
While India made it to the semi-final for the second time in a row, it let the occasion get the better of it. Australia chased down a modest target of 120 with seven wickets to spare. The second semi-final between West Indies and New Zealand was also a one-sided contest, as Sarah McGlashan, sister of Peter, the former New Zealand wicketkeeper, top-scored with 84 to set an imposing target of 181. West Indies was never in the hunt and eventually ended 56 runs short.
In the final, at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, Australia defended a modest 106, with Ellyse Perry rising to the occasion on the big day with three wickets. Perry, who has also played professional football for Australia, was named player of the match. Once again, the finalists went into the title clash after having won all their matches in the group stages.
While history gives us a rough indicator of how the teams stack up against each other, it may be wrong to evaluate them on that basis. The conditions that teams are likely to encounter in Sri Lanka will be spin-oriented, which means the toss could become vital. Given the inclement weather in Galle over the past few days, and not-so-great forecasts for the coming week, teams will also have an eye on the Duckworth-Lewis method.