The ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 kicked-off in style at the weekend. South Africa claimed a three-wicket victory in the tournament opener versus Pakistan, New Zealand thrashed Sri Lanka by nine wickets, while India posted a mammoth 281 as England failed to pull off a record chase. It was a weekend largely dominated by the bat – no team was bowled out – but there were nine run-outs in the opening three matches, with four England batters falling short. Then Australia comfortably chased down 205 to seal victory against the West Indies, which featured a 171-run opening partnership.
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Pakistan v South Africa
Pakistan opener Bibi Nahida (valued at 4.0) hit 79 from 101 balls before being run-out, while South Africa’s Moseline Daniels (6.0) achieved figures of 2/21 at an economy rate of 2.10, which included a mightily impressive 47 dot balls. South Africa openers Laura Wolvaardt (5.0, 52 runs) and Lizelle Lee (8.0, 60) were South Africa’s top run-scorers, while Sadia Yousaf (3.0) was the pick of Pakistan’s bowlers with 2/30 off 10, including 40 dot balls.
New Zealand v Sri Lanka
New Zealand’s opening batter Suzie Bates (9.5) scored 106 not out from 109 balls, which included 11 fours and one six, in the Kiwis’ nine-wicket victory over Sri Lanka. The skipper and Amy Satterthwaite (9.0), 78 not out, put on 170 for the second wicket to reach the target of 189 with 12.2 overs to spare. Sri Lanka’s top three all made starts – Nipuni Hansika (4.0), Chamari Polgampala (3.5) and Chamari Athapaththu (6.0) posted 31, 49 and 53 respectively – but will be looking to go bigger against Australia on Thursday. Sri Lanka used eight bowlers and were unable to tame the impressive Bates and Satterthwaite. White Ferns’ 29-year-old medium-fast bowler Holly Huddleston (5.0) was the game’s standout bowler with 5/35.
India v England
India’s top three fired: Punam Raut (5.0, 86 runs), Smriti Mandhana (5.0, 90) and “Captain Cool” Mithali Raj (9.0, 71), who calmly read a book as she waited to bat, all made big runs, as England’s bowlers struggled to contain them, with India posting 281-3 in its 35-run victory. Heather Knight’s (8.0) 2/41 from seven overs were England’s best figures. She also scored 46 at No. 3 and her all-round quality is certainly tempting for Classic Fantasy gamers. England’s top five all made starts but it was Fran Wilson (3.0) at No. 5 who top-scored for England with 81, who ultimately failed to pull-off the record chase required.
Australia v West Indies
Monday’s encounter featured Australia, ranked third in the ICC Women’s ODI Rankings, and West Indies, who lie in eighth. Meg Lanning (10.0) – WWC17 Classic Fantasy’s most expensive gun for hire and ranked No. 1 in the ICC Women’s ODI Batting Rankings – boasts an incredible ODI batting average of 52.37, and is sure to prove a popular pick throughout the tournament despite only making 12 runs in the first match.
Australia’s No. 3 featured alongside team-mates Ellyse Perry (8.5) and Alex Blackwell (8.5), while Windies’ Stafanie Taylor (9.5) and Deandra Dottin (8.5) were also part of the action, meaning five of the eight highest-ranked ODI batters in the world took part. Hayley Mathews (5.5), Chedean Nation (3.0) and Taylor all made starts without reaching 50 as West Indies posted 204. Australia opener Nicole Bolton (6.5) notched the second ton of the tournament, while wicketkeeper-batter Beth Mooney (5.0) also scored 70; keepers who open the batting are gold dust in Classic Fantasy. The 171-run opening stand made light work of their target of 205, winning by eight wickets with 11.5 overs to spare.
Taylor claimed both West Indies wickets with 2/33, while Australia’s Megan Schutt (6.5) was Australia’s most economical bowler with 1/22 from 8.5 overs. Jess Jonassen (8.5) and Kristen Beams (5.5) both claimed two-fers but were ultimately outgunned by allrounder Ellyse Perry (9.5), with 3/47.
Top 5 Transfer Tips
Suzie Bates, New Zealand (9.5)
The New Zealand skipper was in the runs against Sri Lanka and is a highly attractive proposition, given that she’s in form, opens the batting and is also likely to claim a few wickets with her medium pacers. She doesn’t come cheap though.
Mithali Raj, India (9.0)
Cool, calm and collected, the India skipper is ranked second in the ICC Women’s ODI Batting Rankings. At 19 she emerged as one of India's premier batters with a magnificent 214 against England. Now 34, the No. 3 batter has showed no signs that her crown is slipping.
Heather Knight, England (8.0)
Three of the four most expensive players in the game are all-rounders, but if you don’t have the budget for Ellyse Perry, Stafanie Taylor and Bates, then Heather Knight, who scored 46 and took 2/41 against a strong India outfit, offers slightly better value.
Amelia Kerr, New Zealand (4.5)
1/13 from five overs at an economy rate of 2.60 sounds like a tidy start, but when you consider that Kerr is just 16 years of age – she was 14 when she made her international debut – it becomes even more impressive. Her eight ODI’s have yielded 11 wickets and everyone loves a promising young leggy. Wildcard pick, but you’ll look like a legend if it pulls off.
Fran Wilson, England (3.0)
Wilson wasn’t guaranteed a starting spot going into the tournament but an injury to Lauren Winfield gave her an opportunity to impress at No. 5 against India. She duly delivered with a brilliant 81, which will surely see her retain first-team privileges. Home advantage and seemingly a snip at 3.0.
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Top Transfer Tip
Looking ahead to the second round of ICC Women’s World Cup matches, India’s top-order are in fine form and have every chance of racking up some useful points in Thursday’s match against West Indies, who are the lowest ranked team in the competition according to the ICC ODI Rankings. If we’ve learnt anything from the first round of matches, and indeed from the preceding ICC Champions Trophy Classic Fantasy, it’s that it pays to invest in top-three batters.
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