Cricket: The ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup
By Holly Colvin
For the first time since I started playing for England in 2005 I was watching an ICC tournament from the other side of the world not from the middle. The tournament has
never been hosted in Bangladesh before and I must say from an outsiders point of view they did a fantastic job. The women’s group stages were hosted in Sylhet and no matter who was playing the stadium was rammed. The atmosphere of all these games looked fit for a final; they seem to love their cricket. From what I heard from the girls this really added to the enjoyment of these games and I think these types of crowds is something all countries hosting these global events should strive to achieve.
England’s performance in the tournament was very encouraging. Admittedly they left home with an inexperienced side but it hinted at a really bright future for England cricket. Anya Shrubsole in the absence of Katherine Brunt was the spearhead of the England attack. She became the leading wicket taker with a game to spare, taking a record-breaking number of wickets. In my opinion she completely deserved player of the tournament. Her accurate and late in-swing baffled the top order of many batting line ups and her early wickets were the key to England’s dominance in the group stages.
Another player who must not be forgotten is Nat Sciver. She quietly goes about her business and always takes the ball when needed - often at the end of an innings. Still a relatively inexperienced player she finished the tournament as the second highest wicket taker only behind Anya. If you add in her explosive batting and athletic fielding she really is one for the future. Our spinners in the tournament only had 50 caps between them all from Dani Hazell who consistently kept her end quiet.
However, I think Becky Grundy was another player who really stepped up and took on responsibility in her first tour with the squad. Her accuracy was impressive, she had plenty of revs on the ball and she took on the daunting task of bowling in the powerplay. She grew in confidence as the tournament went on, and I hope this continues through tours to come.
England’s bowling attack led them to the final and I know Lottie will be proud of the team. I also think she will admit that the batting just didn’t fire and cost them the trophy. In the run up to the final they only set a total once and the highest total they had to chase was 133 against the West Indies in a game which they lost. There was a lot of talk about where the batting ‘went wrong’ and most critics pinned it down to lack of six hitting. We were the only team who didn’t manage to hit a single maximum in the tournament. I couldn’t agree more with this theory. England last won the tournament in 2009 and back then we were world leaders in innovation. We were the first team to be paddle sweeping the fast bowlers such as Elyse Perry and reverse sweeping the spinners. The rest of the world has now caught up with us and the women’s game has moved on. In order to win this tournament you needed not only skill and adaptability with the bat but the ability to clear the ropes too.
Australia were worthy winners of the tournament and deserve to be the world leaders in this format. They seemed to have a well-balanced side with good depth to their batting order and plenty of bowling options with both spin and pace. Meg Lanning has once again proven she should be the captain of Australia. She was the leading run scorer in the tournament with an impressive strike rate too. She seems to bring the best out of her players and her form has even improved with the added responsibility of the captaincy. It will be interesting to see if she takes over the captaincy in all 3 formats.
The ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup was the most unpredictable tournament to date and to me that can only be a promising sign for the global game. Twenty20 cricket is naturally the most volatile form of the game but I still think the upsets and results from this tournament are a testament to the rest of the world catching up with the four or so nations that have dominated women’s cricket until now.
For the first time ever South Africa reached a semi-final of an ICC tournament by beating New Zealand who are regulars in reaching that stage. This sudden surge from nations like South Africa in my opinion is down to the professionalism brought to the game by full time contracts, which are now a reality for some of the cricketers. They are now able to train and play pretty much full time and this has brought their game on leaps and bounds.
With new contracts announced by the ECB this month, it’s a really exciting time for England Women’s Cricket. It will be just the boost they need to allow them to hone their skills and practice everything that needs to be improved if they are to dominate women’s cricket once more.
‘Australia were worthy winners of the tournament and deserve to be the world leaders in this format’