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Meg Lanning, Australia 2020
Women's Cricket World Cup

The blockbuster year ahead in women’s cricket

International Women’s Day

If you thought last year was an exciting one for women’s cricket, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Straight away we’re into the swing of things, with England’s tour of India concluding with the third T20I on Saturday, 9 March, and their series against Sri Lanka starting the week after.

Vital ICC Women’s Championship points will be on offer, and England, 50-over world champions but only a point ahead of West Indies at No.7, will be desperate to claim full value to boost their hopes of automatic qualification for the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, are last, with one win from 12, and so will want to close the gap.

In May, Pakistan travel to South Africa for three ODIs and five T20Is, while in the mid-year, a majority of the focus will be on Irish and English shores. The former will enjoy a bumper international schedule, featuring the visits of West Indies and Zimbabwe.

The latter will also take on West Indies, before the battle for the Ashes resumes. The destination of the urn will be decided, once again, by a multi-format series, with points spread across three ODIs, three T20Is, and a Test match. Last time out, in Australia, the Southern Stars retained the urn in a drawn series. This time, with England back on familiar turf, and desperate to avenge not just that result, but their defeat in the Women’s World T20 2018 final, it could be a different story.

All the while, the journey to the T20 World Cup and ODI World Cup will be continuing apace. The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier will take place in Scotland from 31 August to 7 September, and much of the intervening time will be spent deciding who will take part.

Video cwc19 08 Mar 19
ICC Women's World T20 2018 Official Film - Part 5

By virtue of their ninth and 10th place finishes at the 2018 Women’s World T20 final, Bangladesh and Ireland are already confirmed participants. Thailand, by virtue of their clean sweep of the ICC Women’s Qualifier – Asia 2019, will also be there, as will Scotland as hosts.

The other four spots are yet to be determined, and sure to be hotly contested, with four regional competitions between now and then deciding not just who will take part in the August event, but also who will feature in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier in 2020.

First up, from 5-12 May, nine teams – Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe – will do battle in the ICC Women’s Qualifier Africa 2019 in Zimbabwe. The last two are likely to be the favourites, with Uganda having shocked Zimbabwe by three wickets at the 2017 equivalent to book their place at the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier 2018.

Concurrently, from 6-11 May, there will be the ICC Women’s Qualifier East-Asia Pacific 2019, in Vanuatu. Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and the hosts will be the participants. PNG, who were just one win away from qualifying for the 2018 Women’s World T20, will be hot favourites, but will be wary of Samoa in particular, having been beaten by them at the 2015 Pacific Games.

Canada and USA will face off in the USA from 17-19 May, before Germany, the Netherlands and Scotland will clash in the ICC Women’s Qualifier Europe 2019, to be played from 24-30 June in Spain. It's to confirm the final place at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Qualifier, an event that is sure to be thrilling. Ireland and Bangladesh will be favourites, having progressed from the 2018 event, but Scotland in particular, playing at home and having previously come agonisingly close in that competition, will be hoping to spring a surprise.

That will all lead into the 2019 Women’s T20 World Cup, featuring two teams from the qualifier, as well as England, West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and hosts and holders Australia. The final will take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, exactly a year on today, also on International Women’s Day, and Belinda Clark, who knows a thing or two about breaking records, has pretty high hopes for it.

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