• The oldest rivalry in cricket between England and Australia will be renewed at the Women’s World Cup
• India faces Pakistan in the group stages of the Women’s World Cup in Derby on 2 July
• Australia is favourites to retain the ICC Women’s World Cup title at Lord’s on 23 July
When it comes to rivalries in sport, there are not many bigger contests around the world than England against Australia and India vs Pakistan.
And while men’s cricket may grab much of the limelight, there is still a competitive edge when the women’s teams face each other.
The ICC Women’s World Cup will see both rivalries renewed in the single-league tournament in which all eight teams play each other, as India faces Pakistan in Derby on 2 July and England and Australia go head-to-head in Bristol on 9 July.
India holds the advantage over its rivals in both ODIs and T20 formats of the game – but both teams now benefit from their players being under central contracts.
India remains the stronger of the two – but it would be foolish to underestimate its rival having lost to it in a major tournament in the past – the 2012 World T20.
The rivalry may not yet match that of the men’s game, with Sunday’s ICC Champions Trophy final at The Oval being a recent highpoint, but it is certainly one that is building and one that Asian cricket needs to be proud of as it looks to become a true marquee fixture.
If the rivalry between India and Pakistan is one that is growing, then the same cannot be said for England and Australia – as in the men’s game it is full of passion from both sides.
“There’s no doubt that there’s rivalry between the women,” said Australia captain Meg Lanning.
And it is a rivalry that dates back as far as 1934 – originally just Test
matches but more recently across ODIs and T20 matches as well.
The results are close but the Australians have the edge with eight series wins from the 21 series with England wining six and seven draws.
The Women’s Ashes takes place biennially with the next incarnation taking place in Australia later this year – with Lanning’s side the holders after winning the 2015 series in England.
But before that, there is the small matter of the group match at the World Cup – a match that is sure to have an extra edge.
Lanning said: “The fact that it’s a World Cup, in England as well, only adds to it and they’re always really good, tough contests, so we’re very much looking forward to it.
“The players want to win it for the whole country and they want to win it too, we’ve had a lot of battles over the year and I’ve been involved in some great ones, so there’s a lot to the match.
“There is passion that the supporters share and hopefully we will have that throughout the World Cup.”And the feeling is the same in the England camp with Lauren Winfield knowing that her side has come up short against their rivals recently.
“There’s always a lot riding on games against Australia,” she said. “And we’ve come a cropper against them a fair few times in recent seasons.”
Whatever the outcome of the respective games, the ICC Women’s World Cup is set to provide a platform for both rivalries to go to the next level.