Ten years on from lifting the trophy in the first ever ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, former England captain Charlotte Edwards still vividly recalls the emotions of a special tournament that culminated in a “perfect” day at Lord’s.
Edwards says the victory capitalised on England’s success in the 50-over World Cup held in Australia earlier in 2009 with a celebration on home soil propelling the women’s game to new heights across the country.
“I remember walking out of my hotel room the day after and seeing my face on the front page of the paper and I thought, ‘wow - look at the strides we've made”, Edwards said. “The 50-over World Cup probably meant more to me at the time as a cricketer but you really felt like this one got more publicity. Given we were playing at home it had more impact on people and hopefully inspired young girls.”
After starting the tournament “not playing very well”, England saved their best to last in the final, dismissing New Zealand for 85 and knocking off the runs with ease.
“Sometimes they say if you have a tough semi-final, you’ll get an easy final and it couldn't have got any easier for us, our plans came off and it was the perfect game. I still remember the winning runs scored by Claire Taylor and it was just a great day.”
“Afterwards, we watched Pakistan against Sri Lanka in the men’s final which was on the same day and I remember so many people coming up to congratulate us. We celebrated pretty hard in London, doing it at home makes it special having friends and family to share it with.”
The T20 format has been the best vehicle to promote women and girls cricket and we've been lucky to have had so many great games
The semi-final was indeed a difficult one, facing Australia, England were set 164 to win, a target that Edwards says was “unheard of” in the women’s game at the time.
“The semi-final against Australia was one of the best games I played in my career and it was probably the first time we saw a massive score, so it was probably a game changer for the women’s game,” Edwards recalls. “I remembered them getting to 160 and its like, well they've got it, so we've got to get it.”
“Sometimes when a team makes a big total you can walk off and be negative and say ‘we bowled badly’, but I said to the team, ‘we've got to get it and be positive. It shows what you can do if you are positive and put your mind to it.”
Admitting she can’t believe how fast the time has passed, Edwards says being a part of the evolution of the women’s game towards the professional era has been an incredible journey to be part of.
“The T20 format has been the best vehicle to promote women and girls cricket and we've been lucky to have had so many great games,” Edwards said. “Being in the West Indies in 2018 and seeing the impact that had there was incredible and it feels like with the World Cup in Australia next year it’s just going to get bigger and better.”
The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Australia 2020 will be played from February 21 to March 8, with the final scheduled on International Women’s Day at the biggest cricket stadium in the world, the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The current world attendance record for a women’s sporting fixture currently stands at 90,185 at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup final, but a full house at the MCG would set a new benchmark.
“I had to pinch myself in 2017 that there could be a full house at Lord’s,” Edwards said. “To fill out Lord’s … then play the next final at the MCG with 90,00 tells its own story. It's been incredible to be part that journey we've all been on. I hope I can be there to witness what will be a great sporting moment.”
Tickets to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Australia 2020 are on sale now at tickets.t20worldcup.com. Adult tickets are available from $20 and all kid’s tickets are $5.
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