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Womens World T20

Preview: ICC WT20 2018, Group B

ICC WT20 2018, feature

It’s a powerhouse of a group, with as many as three of the five teams frontrunners to lift the trophy, including three-time champions Australia, ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 runners-up India, and the No.2-ranked New Zealand.

Teams and fixtures

Australia
India
New Zealand
Pakistan
Ireland

9 Nov: New Zealand v India; Australia v Pakistan

11 Nov: India v Pakistan; Australia v Ireland

13 Nov: Pakistan v Ireland; Australia v New Zealand

15 Nov: India v Ireland; New Zealand v Pakistan

17 Nov: India v Australia; New Zealand v Ireland

History in the tournament

Australia are the most successful side in the tournament. They have won the ICC Women’s World T20 three times so far – more than any other side – and are one of the favourites to lift the trophy again. They won their first title in 2010, and followed it up with success in 2012 and 2014 to make it a hat-trick of titles. Had the Windies not stopped them in the final in 2016, they would have made it four on the trot.

India haven’t had much success in the tournament of late. Their best showing was reaching the semi-final stage in the first two editions in 2009 and 2010. Since then, they have crashed out in the first round, including in the 2016 edition, which was played at home.

New Zealand have been unlucky in that they have fallen short at the final hurdle twice. They reached the final in the first two editions – in 2009 and 2010 – but lost both times, to England and Australia. The likes of Amy Satterthwaite, Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine were around then too, though, and will be better for the experience.

History doesn’t favour Pakistan. They haven’t yet managed to make it out of the group stages of the tournament. They did come close in the last edition, in 2016, when they finished third in Group B with two wins in four matches.

Ireland have played in the tournament twice before – in 2014 and 2016. This will be the third straight year they will be competing in the big event. However, they are yet to register a win.

Form guide (most recent first)

Australia: W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-L

India: W-W-W-NR-W-L-W-W-L-W

New Zealand: L-L-L-L-L-W-L-W-W-W

Pakistan: L-L-L-W-W-L-W-W-L-W

Ireland: L-L-L-W-W-W-W-W-L

Strengths and weaknesses

Australia are a terrific side, with quality throughout the order. Their batters, particularly, are a big threat to the opposition. The form of the likes of Alyssa Healy at the top have mostly ensured Australia haven’t had to call upon Elyse Villani and Ellyse Perry too often. They bat long, they bat deep, and they bat hard.

If a weakness has to be picked – and we’re nit-picking here – it’s in the bowling, where apart from Megan Schutt and Perry, there’s a lack of experience among Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux and Georgia Wareham.

India’s big strength is their spinners. Poonam Yadav, the leg-spinner, recently became their all-time leading wicket-taker in T20Is, and the likes of Ekta Bisht, Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav provide fine support – their difference in heights can also make for tricky angles. With the surfaces in the Windies expected to aid the slow bowlers, India will feel confident.

Their weakness is an over-reliance on Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur with the bat. There is no other source for power-hitting and if these two can’t set the tone, then India could be in trouble.

New Zealand have a pretty solid outfit, but their biggest strength is their opening pair of Bates and Devine. Both score at a scary rate, and while Bates is happy to bat long, Devine at the other usually goes berserk after getting a start. The two can take the game away from any opposition.

There are a few question marks with their bowling though – in the three-match series against Australia, Lea Tahuhu, Leigh Kasperek and Hayley Jensen were all expensive. Keeping things tight in the absence of wickets will be key for the team.

Pakistan’s strength is their bowling. Anam Amin, the left-arm spinner, and Nida Dar, the off-spinner, are among the top bowlers in the world, while former captain Sana Mir will bring a bundle of experience to the campaign.

They will hope to bowl first and restrict oppositions to low totals, especially given their suspect batting – they have no players in the top 15 of the rankings, and a lot will depend on Javeria Khan and Bismah Maroof’s performance.

As for Ireland, their batting is their biggest strength, with experienced hands like Clare Shillington and Cecelia Joyce, and a reliable middle-order batter in the 17-year-old Gaby Lewis, who is in good form.

The likes of Laura Delany, Isobel Joyce and Eimear Richardson, the all-rounders, provide excellent support with the bat. But if the top-order doesn’t click, the impression is that they’ll struggle.

Squads

Australia: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes, Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Taniya Bhatia, Ekta Bisht, Dayalan Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Anuja Patil, Mithali Raj, Arundathi Reddy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav

New Zealand: Amy Satterthwaite (c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Sophie Devine, Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Anna Peterson, Harriet Rowe, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin

Pakistan: Aiman Anwer, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Javeria Khan (c), Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Natalia Pervaiz, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sana Mir, Sidra Ameen, Sidra Nawaz

Ireland: Laura Delany (c), Kim Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Gaby Lewis, Lara Maritz, Ciara Metcalfe, Lucy O’Reilly, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Clare Shillington, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron

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