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Showing posts from June, 2017

MATCH REPORT : India v West Indies

Smriti Mandhana stole the show once again, bagging her second consecutive Player of the Match award in her first two World Cup games. Her career best score – an unbeaten 106 in 108 balls – anchored India’s chase of a tricky total against Windies, and gave the team their second consecutive win.  Chasing 184, India reached the target in 42.3 overs. But while the 20-year old took all the plaudits, it was the spinners who set up the seven-wicket win.
When the Indian team for the World Cup in England was announced, the lack of a fourth fast bowler was the biggest talking point.  India packed the side with every manner of spinner, with as many as five options, six if you counted Mona Meshram’s darts. At the time of departure, Raj wholeheartedly defended the team composition.
The conditions in Taunton may have temped Raj to drop a spinner and give Mansi Joshi a game. The pitch was under covers the day before the game due to rain, and on match day, the weather was chilly and grey. Also, Joshi…

MATCH REPORT : Australia v Sri Lanka

Australia duly overcame a spirited Sri Lanka team by a convincing eight wickets, but it was not a win without a few jitters, thanks in the main to an utterly outstanding batting effort from Sri Lanka's Chamari Atapattu, also known as Athapaththu and Jayangani, depending on which scorecard you look at.

However you spell her name, she is a class batsman. She came in at number three for Sri Lanka to face the fourth ball of the first over. She left the field at the end of Sri Lanka's 50 overs, unbeaten on 178, having almost single-handedly taken Sri Lanka to 257/9 - their second highest total in ODIs. Only two other Sri Lankan batsmen got into double figures - Siriwardene 24 and Lokusooriya 13.

From ball one Atapattu showed she was not going to be overawed by the occasion or by the opposition. As Ellyse Perry tried to intimidate her with short balls, she responded by hooking; when Perry pitched up the lefthander drove her through extra cover, and then again straight back down the …

MATCH REPORT: New Zealand v South Africa - Match Abandoned

Today's match between New Zealand and South Africa at Derby was abandoned without a ball bowled, after overnight rain continued throughout the morning, drenching the covers and the outfield.

After a final pitch inspection at 2pm, the umpires made the unfortunate decision that no play would be possible.

The sides therefore come away with a point apiece - a possible setback to New Zealand's hopes of reaching the semi-finals, given that they would have hoped to take the maximum 2 points on offer.

Speaking after the game had been called off, Amy Satterthwaite said that New Zealand had been disappointed not to get on the field: "No matter what team you’re playing you're always looking to get 2 points. There’s a sense of disappointment, but you have to expect weather a bit like this over in England. You have to deal with it and move on.”

South Africa might well have been expected to be the happier of the two sides, but Mignon du Preez made it clear they had been equally keen to…

MATCH REPORT: England v Pakistan

England revived their World Cup dreams today at Leicester in an utterly dominant display against Pakistan, racking up their highest ever World Cup score (377-7) and eventually winning by 107 runs (D/L method).
It was a day to remember for England’s Natalie Sciver (137) and Heather Knight (106), who both reached their maiden ODI centuries. Meanwhile Pakistani captain Sana Mir was left ruing her decision to insert England after winning the toss.
Unusually for the Pakistanis, they opened with pace bowling from both ends, and both Kainat Imtiaz and Asmavia Iqbal began well, putting the England batsmen under pressure from the off. Sarah Taylor, opening once again in place of the injured Lauren Winfield, struck a beautiful cover drive but was unable to push on, taken by surprise by a straight ball from Imtiaz and trapped LBW. Beaumont, meanwhile, was dropped by Nain Abidi at slip off the first ball of the game, and never recovered, edging a wide ball to Sidra Nawaz behind the stumps when on 1…

MATCH REPORT : Australia v West Indies

Australia were undoubtedly the most professional outfit at Taunton today. They did not miss a trick as they cruised to an eight wicket victory over West Indies, the team that beat them in the WT20 final just over two years ago.

Meg Lanning showed she was on the ball before the game even started, when opposing skipper Stafanie Taylor first elected to bat, before immediately correcting herself to say that she wanted to bowl. As the post-toss formalities were being concluded Lanning, who also wanted to bowl, checked the rules. The Match Referee, David Jukes was called and Windies were made to bat.

And they proceeded to bat in the style of a petulant teenager who had been told to tidy their bedroom. They went through the motions without any great enthusiasm or commitment. After 10 overs West Indies were 34/0 with Matthews 22 and Walters 7. Shortly after Walters departed, but rather than see Stafanie Taylor, Chedean Nation walked to the crease. She did not walk back for another 73 balls, b…

MATCH REPORT: South Africa v Pakistan

A 100-run opening partnership between Laura Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee provided the platform for a winning start to South Africa's World Cup campaign; but a fighting performance in the field from Pakistan made them sweat for it until the penultimate over, with Shabnim Ismail hitting 3 boundaries in the 49th to seal the win for the Women Proteas.

Chasing 206, 18-year-old Laura Wolvaardt, who already has two international centuries to her name, signalled her intent by hitting back-to-back cover drives for 4. Lizelle Lee soon joined the party as the pair set off at well over the required rate of a little above 4 an over.

Pakistan pulled things back a little in the post-powerplay overs, but South Africa could still hardly have been better-placed at the half-way point than the 112-0 at which they found themselves, though both batsmen had their scares - Lee dropped on a tough caught & bowled chance by Nashra Sandhu on 28; and Wolvaardt surviving a big LBW shout in her 20s.

The dismis…

MATCH REPORT : India v England

from Snehal Pradhan at Derby

Any confidence that England would have gained thanks to the cloudy conditions, and winning the toss and putting India in, would have evaporated once India started batting.
Smriti Mandhana pulled her first ball for four as if she had grown up on county wickets. In the next over she punched a short ball through the covers for four. The following ten overs seemed to be a replay of those two shots stuck on repeat, as Katherine Brunt kept bowling short.
Raut played four sedate overs at the other end, but when the batters finally changed ends in the ninth over, Mandhana greeted the first ball she played off Anya Shrubsole with another pull to deep midwicket.
She and Raut motored along to 113 unbeaten till the 23rd over, when - out of nowhere - they took the batting power play, forcing Anya Shrubsole to come back into the attack. Her first ball was carted for six by Mandhana, and she and Raut took 20 runs from the over. Although Mandhana fell 10 short of a century…

MATCH REPORT: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka

In the first completed game of the 2017 World Cup, at Bristol, an 8th ODI century from Suzie Bates saw New Zealand comfortably chase down Sri Lanka’s total of 188 to win by 9 wickets in the space of 38 overs.
Skipper Bates (106*) was the epitome of “batting with intent”, driving Udeshika Prabodani’s first ball of the innings straight down the track for four, bringing up her half-century with a huge six over midwicket, and reaching 100 in the space of 107 balls.
While fellow opener Rachel Priest departed early - LBW trying to sweep Chandima Gunaratne for 2 - Amy Satterthwaite (78*) continued her recent excellent form in 50-over cricket, effortlessly reaching her own half-century and sharing a 170-run partnership with her captain.
Earlier, after New Zealand had won the toss and chosen to field, Player of the Match Holly Huddleston helped New Zealand restrict Sri Lanka to 188-9 across their 50 overs, finishing with 5-35 - the first five-fer of this World Cup.
No doubt New Zealand had hoped t…

World Cup Launch Party: Who Said What?

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Well, this is it - we’re less than 24 hours away from the start of the biggest World Cup in the history of the women’s game - and I was lucky enough to make it along to yesterday’s media drinks event to celebrate that fact.


In particularly lavish surroundings at the National Liberal Club, seven of the eight captains who will be fighting it out over the next few weeks spoke to members of the media about their hopes, their dreams, and the trashy TV choices of their team mates…
Heather Knight was first up. Calm and collected, she spoke of feeling“in good nick”going into the tournament, despite her recent foot injury. How are England coping with the pressure of a home World Cup? “As a group we’re trying to stay in our bubble a bit, and not let too many external things come into it. The bubble is all about concentrating on us and what we do. A lot of us have decided to come off Twitter and use social media more scarcely.” Interesting, though doesn’t quite seem to amount to a total ban. Even …

The Bloggers' Predictions

We thought we ought to put the bloggers on the spot and find out who they think will come out on top at this World Cup. So we put the same few questions to each of the bloggers who have contributed to this dedicated Women's World Cup blog. Here are their answers. But will they be cowering in a corner, or crowing like a rooster, once the competition is over in five weeks time?

Who do you think will be the top run scorer?
Martin Davies : There are a few candidates, but the most consistent ODI performer over the last couple of years is Ellyse Perry, so she gets my vote.
Don Miles : For me it has to be Meg Lanning. If you are the world's best it should be you if you keep your nerve.
Snehal Pradhan : I'm going forEllyse Perry too.
Raf Nicholson : I'm going to say Suzie Bates. She managed it last time and, if anything, she is a better player now than she was in 2013.
Syd Egan : It's got to be Meg Lanning, and I think she will have the highest individual score too.

Who do you th…

Australia

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Chances of Success Rating : 8.0/10 (1st)



There is no denying the credentials of the Australian team. They finished top of the ICC Women's Championship standings by a clear margin, losing just three of their 21 ICCWC games - to England, India and New Zealand. Their record in this competition is beyond remarkable - they are the holders and they have won it six out of the 10 times times it has been staged. They have only twice not made it to the final.

In the last four years Australia have played 35 ODIs and lost just seven of them - four to England, two to New Zealand and one to India, plus they have tied a game with South Africa. When they need to win, generally they do.

This is why they are the favourites to land their seventh World Cup in the final at Lord's on 23rd July, but don't expect them to get everything their own way.

Their batting line-up looks very potent. They finally seem to have settled on Nicole Bolton and Beth Mooney as their best opening combination, after…

New Zealand

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Chances of Success Rating 7.9/10 (2nd)



I fully remember the last time I tried to write a piece about the development of New Zealand cricket. It was for Cricinfo, right before their series against England in early 2015, and was entitled “New Zealand’s frustrating decline in women’s cricket”. It seemed accurate enough at the time. New Zealand have not won a world title since their World Cup win at home in 2000. They were fourth-placed in 2013.

I sent it off. Then I turned on the BBC commentary for the first England-New Zealand ODI. Suzie Bates was in the middle of hammering a century. New Zealand didn't lose a wicket until 157 runs were up on the scoreboard. Frantically, I emailed over edits to my piece - which had proudly proclaimed that England had not lost an international match against the Kiwis in 5 years - while the action unfolded.

I stayed up half the night listening to New Zealand defeating England by 67 runs. They went on to win two of the three Championship matches. I wa…

England

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Chances of Success Rating 7.2/10 (3rd)


England have won the World Cup on three occasions - 1973, 1993 and most recently in Australia in 2009. Three players survive from that 2009 final - Katherine Brunt, Laura Marsh and Sarah Taylor - plus Jenny Gunn, who would have played in Sydney but for a last-minute injury. The reality however is that this feels like a 100% different side from the one which also won the World T20 that year; but which subsequently failed to live up to the hopes at the time, that they were set to dominate women's cricket for the next 10 years.

That the highs of 2009 ultimately proved to be short-lived partly explains why, six years later, Mark Robinson was appointed coach with a brief to shake things up - which he did by sacking Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway in the wake of the team's semi-final elimination in the 2016 World T20, making way for a new generation of talent to come to the fore.

Power batting from the likes of Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Winfi…

India

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Chances of Success Rating 6.0/10 (4th)



The question of whether young opening batter Smriti Mandhana would recover in time for the ICC Women’s World Cup was finally answered, with the left hander being included in the team for this year’s biggest tournament. Mandhana had been sidelined since January with a knee injury, and was in a race to be fit for the flight to England. She replaced all-rounder Devika Vaidya in the side, being the only change to the team that played a Quadrangular tournament in South Africa.

The squad:

The team is led by legendary batter Mithali Raj. Raj was retained as captain of the ODI team in October last year, when Harmanpreet Kaur was named T20 captain. The move to split the captaincy pointed to a succession plan, and it will not be surprising if Harmanpreet takes over ODI captaincy as well after this tournament.

All together, India's 15 players have 651 ODI games of experience under their belt. However, this figure is offset by Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswa…

South Africa

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Chances of Success Rating : 5.8/10 (5th)



Although women's cricket held quite a strong foothold in South Africa during the 1960s and 70s, it was not until well after the end of the sporting boycott in the 1990s that South Africa competed in their first World Cup - in India in 1997. Four years later, in 2000 (yes... the 2001 World Cup was actually held in December 2000 in New Zealand) they reached the semi-finals after a group-stage victory over England; but it proved to be something of a false-dawn, and the next three tournaments all ended in early baths for the South Africans.

The four years since their 6th-placed performance in 2013 have been transformational however, as a new sponsorship deal with financial services giant Momentum has allowed them to build a core professional setup which has propelled them into an expanded top tier of the women's game - no longer minnows, but genuinely competitive with all the top sides, recording ODI victories against all but Australia with…

West Indies

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Chances of Success Rating : 5.2/10 (6th)



On paper, West Indies should have a good shot at winning this World Cup. Their recent rise to the top of world cricket has been meteoric. They were finalists in the 2013 tournament - beating eventual champions Australia along the way - and last year they went one better and danced away with the World Twenty20 crown.

But that is on paper. The stark reality is that another tournament triumph is unlikely for this West Indies team.

Since the 2013 World Cup, they’ve suffered series whitewashes against England, New Zealand, Australia, and most recently India in November last year. They’ve also lost matches to Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Of course this is being a bit selective - they’ve had some successes, too - but no team can afford to slip up against the two bottom-ranked teams in a round robin tournament like this one. As a side, recent results would suggest that West Indies lack the consistency needed to win a 50-over World Cup.

They were hammered…

Pakistan

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Chances of Success Rating : 2.8/10 (7th)

Pakistan finished seventh in the ICC Women’s Championship table, just above Sri Lanka, winning just four of the 18  matches they played. Due to political issues their three match series against India was never played. They beat Sri Lanka 3-0, and managed to win one game against South Africa. They managed to secure the final place in the WWC17 taking fourth spot in the World Cup Qualifier tournament, but lost there to Sri Lanka in the Super 6s, before convincingly defeating Ireland to claim their spot at the tournament.
At the same time as they named their squad for WWC17 they also announced a new coach, Sabih Azhar. He is the fourth Head Coach the team have had in the past year. Not an ideal situation for any team, and suggesting one that is in a bit of mess off the pitch, if not on.
The team were last in England in the summer of 2016, when England made ODI scores of 378 and 366 against them, and chased down 165 comfortably in the third match of t…

Sri Lanka

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Chances of Success Rating : 2.4/10 (8th)


Cast your mind back to February 2013 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.

Sri Lanka were playing England in the second match in Group A of the Women’s World Cup. England, without Sarah Taylor and Anya Shrubsole, had stumbled their way to 238, after having been rocking at 29/3. But 238 looked like it was enough against a team that had never beaten any of the Big Four (Australia, England, New Zealand or India). Trouble is nobody told the Sri Lankans!

England would have been worried when Yasoda Mendis and Chamari Atapattu put on over 100 for the first wicket, but a clatter of wickets seemed to have England back in control, until stocky fast bowler Eshani Koushalya decided that, with partners disappearing from the other end, the only way forward was attack. With 16 off the 48th over from Jenny Gunn Sri Lanka were nearly home, needing just 13 to win, but only four came from the 49th over bowled by Danni Hazell. Nine needed off the last, to be bowled…