What is it?
The ICC Women’s World Cup is the oldest and most prestigious competition in international women’s cricket. It serves as the world championships for the One Day International (“ODI”) cricket format. The women’s World Cup actually predates the men’s version, with the first World Cup being held in 1973. However, some larger gaps between editions due to funding issues around the early championships mean that the 2017 edition is the 11th Women’s World Cup, whereas the men held their 11th edition in 2015. Prior to 2005, the competition was run by International Women’s Cricket Council (“IWCC”), and post-2005 it was taken over by the International Cricket Council (“ICC”), following their merger with the IWCC.
What is the format this year?
Eight teams qualified for the World Cup. In the initial group stage, all eight teams play each other in a league format. Following the group stage, the top four teams qualify for the semi-finals, with the top-ranked team playing against the fourth-ranked team, and the second- and third-ranked teams facing off against each other. The winners of each semi-final then meet in the final on 23rd July. There is no 3rd place playoff.
Who are the qualifiers?
Between 2014 and 2016, eight nations (Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies) played seven rounds of one-day series, with each team playing the other seven once. At the end of this ICC Women’s Championship, the top four teams (Australia, England, New Zealand and the West Indies) qualified for the World Cup, and the bottom four went into a World Cup Qualifier tournament against six other nations: Bangladesh and Ireland, who qualify by virtue of having ODI status: Zimbabwe, who won an African regional competition; Thailand, who won an Asian regional competition; Papua New Guinea, who won an East Asia-Pacific regional competition; and Scotland, who won the European regional competition. Unsurprisingly, the bottom four from the ICC Women’s Championship came through the Qualifier, leaving us with the same eight teams to contest the World Cup.
What are the home team’s chances?
Only three teams have won the World Cup: Australia; England; and New Zealand. Going into the 2017 tournament, Australia are the top ranked team in the world, but England are ranked second, and will hope that home advantage can give them the competitive edge. England lost their opening match against India, but since then have won six matches on the spin, and have qualified for the semi-finals as the top team in the Group Stage.
Who are the players to watch out for?
Meg Lanning from Australia tops the batting rankings going into the tournament, followed by India’s Mithali Raj and fellow Aussie Ellyse Perry. From an English perspective, Natalie Sciver has the highest ranking at number 7, but Tamsin Beaumont has topped the scoring charts in the Group Stage, ahead of Perry and Raj. For the bowlers, South Africa’s Marizanne Kapp tops the rankings, ahead of Australia’s Jess Jonassen and the Windies Stafanie Taylor. In the Group Stage, India’s Ekta Bisht has taken the most wickets, with 13, ahead of compatriot Shikha Pandey with 11 and South Africa’s Dane van Niekerk with 10.
What is the schedule now?
England play South Africa in Bristol on the 18th July. In the Group Stage, England beat the Proteas by 68 runs in the a high-scoring match. South Africa showed their potency in becoming the first women’s team to score more than 300 runs when batting second, but England’s total of 365, built on the back of a partnership between Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor worth 275 runs, proved to be beyond them. The second semi-final will see Australia take on India in Derby on the 20th July. India are the only team to have beaten England at the tournament, defeating them in the opening match, but were comfortably defeated by Australia in the Group Stage. In the match against Australia, Mithali Raj became the leading run-scorer in women’s ODIs, passing England’s Charlotte Edwards (5,992 runs) and 6,000 runs on her way to 69.
The final will take place at Lord’s in London on the 23rd July.
Where can I watch it (UK only)?
Sky Sports are showing all of the World Cup matches live, and listeners can tune in to TMS on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra or via the BBC Sport website.