One of the most exciting and premier contests in the women’s game is about to go live. It can’t get bigger or better than this.
The T20 Women’s World Cup promises big hits, massive wickets and the twist and turns that make the T20 format the topsy turvy contest that one’s come to identify it as.
And that it is being held in South Africa is even more tantalising; do the hosts reserve the exclusive right to pick the prized crown or are we going to evidence advantage Australia or England, two of the most promising sides to ever embrace the game.
Furthermore, what chance does India have this time around at picking that elusive crown? Will the West Indies women come any good?
There are so many questions out there but only a few certainties such as the following names that promise to make this exceptional series an unmissable one.
The leg-spinning all rounder who can score constructive innings and innovative fifties has previously led the Proteas women’s side, especially in the absence of their big talent: Dane van Niekerk.
Luus did exactly that in the last edition of the Women’s ODI World Cup, which was contested in New Zealand.
But this time around, as Van Niekerk hasn’t been picked in what is perhaps a very debatable and polarising decision, the pressure is even more on the shining talent of the South African contingent.
So why’s that?
Lizelle Lee is no longer an active South African cricketer and ditto for the legend Mignon du Preez.
This fundamentally means that the Proteas women’s captain has to produce remarkable outings with both bat and ball being the premier all rounder of the side and lead by example.
Moreover, she also has to watch out that the pressure of producing the heroics does not come to rest solely on Kapp, a proven matchwinner.
Truth be told, the T20 World Cup of 2023 will serve as a classic template to show just how well Sune Luus leads her troops as the side expect to lift what they still haven’t.
A world class cricketer. A living legend. An inspirer of a generation. A giver of unfathomable quantum of hope to Australia- Ellyse Perry is all this and more.
For someone who wore braces when she broke out as a teenager in international white-ball cricket, Perry has, quite simply, stunned the world given her remarkable exploits on the cricket field.
It just feels, truly speaking, that Ellyse Perry is a tireless soldier for Australian cricket; someone whose infectious enthusiasm for the game makes women’s cricket a live wire of a contest.
A veteran cricketer now and still the very best all rounder alongside the likes of Marizanne Kapp and Sophie Devine, Perry’s a star.
And if the Australians are to clinch what might be yet another title, then this star will have to shine brightly amid a galaxy that already constitutes some world class names- think Lanning, Mooney, Healy, Garnder and Schutt.
Interestingly, Ellyse Perry was injured, watching the cricketing action from the sidelines when her side last won a T20 crown, which was back at home in 2020.
Will this absence and now the desire to come back even stronger make Perry an even more dangerous opponent?
We shall soon find out.
Among the few best things about Pakistan women’s cricket, Dar is an exceptional talent and an all-rounder to boot.
Called Lady Lala after her cricketer and inspiration Shahid Afridi, Nida Dar’s contribution to her women’s unit is no less significant than that of Afridi’s effort to catapult the men’s team to a commanding position back in the day.
She’s daring and unafraid to go after big totals and big bowlers, which makes Nida Dar such a fine find for Pakistan.
The veteran of 126 T20 internationals and someone who’s scored 1616 useful runs and collected 121 T20I wickets, Dar can cause fear in the minds of her opponents.
With 7 fifties to her name, the multi dimensional cricketer can inflict damage on any given day and to any given side, which makes her second to none in the topmost firmament of the women’s game.
If Pakistan expect themselves to go deep into this tournament, then it is absolutely essential that their finest current cricketer comes to the party.
She can repeatedly bowl at speeds of upto 116 kmph. She’s been on the international radar for the last two cricketing summers. In the most recent T20I for Australia, she bowled successfully picking four wickets at a great purchase conceding no more than 16 runs.
She’s all of 19. She’s Darcie Brown. And she’s ready to contest in what is likely going to be a cracker of a series for the defending champions Australia.
A wily customer with the white ball, Brown can beat the blues out of most world class batters and the T20 World Cup of 2023 gives the right-arm seamer to prove her potential yet again against some of the finest in the game, whether one thinks of Smriti Mandhana, Nat Sciver, Daniil Wyatt, Laura Wolvaardt or Hayley Matthews.
One of Pakistan Women’s national cricket team’s finest and yet, most unfulfilled potentials as on date, the T20 World Cup of 2023 is a massive chance for Aliya Riaz to silence her critics.
A handy customer with the white-ball and a catchy batter in the middle order, the right-hander is a partnership stitcher and someone who can intelligently collect the runs especially during tough conditions.
And truly speaking, there could be a few confronting Pakistan that happen to be one of the most exhilarating and yet, most unpredictable sides in the game.
Someone who, in the past has built stands and scored heaps of runs down the order with Nida Dar at the other end, Riaz is a class act and must swing to the thick of things in what promises to be an exciting campaign for her Pakistan.
In order to build big scores, the batters will rely on her big hitting to pile up the runs. For the task can’t always be done by the likes of Muneeba Ali, Bismah or Javeria alone.
The world needs South Africa at their bloody best and one of the ways to be ahead of the curve is to have Anneke Bosch fire up the proceedings thanks to her genuine all-round talent.
The talented top order batter, who’s already given a glimpse of her dense batting talent thanks to fifties against some of the leading sides around such as England, is about to enter her maiden T20 World Cup.
A useful medium pacer that can be introduced as first or second change on dry pitches, Bosch would like to add impetus to a promising Protea side that is likely to miss its big names- Dane van Niekerk, Mignon du Preez and Lizelle Lee.
But what’s most needed from Anne Bosch’s end is to accumulate runs quickly, something she’s quite adept at- given her ability to find the fence without much ado.
Moreover, a batting average touching 30 from just 16 T20I outings doesn’t leave much of a doubt about one of the most exciting all-rounders in the Protea women’s camp.
One of the most sought after players today in multiple T20 leagues floating around the world at the moment, Shafali Verma, well and truly speaking, is a great find for Indian cricket.
For someone who debuted at the age of 15 and thus became the youngest Indian cricketer- male or female- to play international cricket, it’s rather interesting as to how Shafali has become an experienced campaigner at 19. Truly speaking, the freewheeling nature and wham-bam style of cricket suits the natural abilities of this big-hitter.
A cricketing prodigy, much of what India do in this mega series and how they go about their contests will come to rely on the abilities of this brave right-hander.
The word ‘fear,’ it ought to be said, just doesn’t feature in her dictionary. May that be the case for Shafali this time around too!
The brave left-hander is, quite simply, in a league of her own. She’s classy. She’s determined and she possesses that quintessential Australian trait that great cricketers possess: resilience.
The sparkly left hander is particularly strong towards square on the wicket. Her ability to time the cricket ball and play a touch late makes her an exceptionally gifted willower, the likes that trouble the world’s best bowlers on any given day.
It’s precisely the thing that India found out much to their dismay nearly three years back in the day when the bright-eyed Aussie lifted her team and in the process, deflated Harmanpreet’s side in the high-octane finals of the last edition of the T20 World Cup (circa 2020).
The author of one of the most famous and incredible batting efforts ever in the Women’s T20 World Cup, across generations and lifetimes, Beth Mooney reserved her best for the finals of the last edition of the sweltering tournament, when her 78 off just 54 deliveries anchored the Aussies to a position of ascendency in their total of 184.
That she emerged unbeaten despite having opened the innings made her effort an exceedingly brilliant account of batsmanship.
The Aussies, already a star-lit unit, will want nothing less than that sort of performance from their top notch batter.
Renuka Singh Thakur
Not much of a talker, the thinking cricketer, who happens to be one of the most promising names on the Indian cricket circuitexcites and entertains in equal measure.
Though, no such thing can be said for batters who tend to often find their stumps disturbed thanks to Renuka Singh Thakur’s exceptional seam bowling.
A genuine seamer and mover of the white ball, the Himachal Pradesh express’ ability to bring the ball into the right-hander’s hascaught many a prominent name in the women’s game by a surprise.
Moreover, Thakur’s presence will be vital to a bowling cauldron that already packs a punch with the presence of Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and the returning Shikha Pandey; the latter, the most vital medium pacer in the side.
This T20 World Cup is Renuka Thakur’s chance to shine at the highest annals of the game and India will hope that its rising daughter can contest in a memorable series, the right armer playing her maiden T20 World Cup.
Maddy Green is a compact player and one who, given her decade long experience in the women’s T20 internationals, has become a go-to white-ball pick for the White Ferns.
Her ability to both score runs quickly and play the watchful batter especially during lean phases in a contest make Green a handy customer and one on whom the White Ferns can bank upon.
The Aucklander burst on the cricket scene back in the day, in 2012 to be precise. That in all these years, she’s still going strong and hasn’t faded away is a testimony to her desire to keep getting better at the highest level.
That’s at a time where other capable batters such as Katie Perkins have quite simply vanished from the radar of the selectors.
Though, it ought to be said, despite all the potential and the ability to come good against the big sides, what’s missing in Green’s case is that elusive big knock.
Despite getting a chance to hold the bat for New Zealand in no fewer than 60 T20I innings, Green’s highest score is 49.
Can she go a touch better this time around?
A team that’s without Deandra Dottin will surely expect some vital knocks from Campbelle, who hasn’t really made the best use of her batting ability.
The right-handed keeper-batter is just the kind of intelligent cricketer that the West Indies will expect oodles of effort and truth be told, runs from.
A capable batter, who’s got the ability to score runs on either side of the wicket, Campbelle is experienced and dependable.
But can she hit some quickly and ensure that the responsibility of scoring the lion’s share of runs doesn’t only rest on Hayley Matthews, her captain?
Only time will tell. However, what we know already, is that the Guyanese cricketer has 115 T20I’s against her name and is only 47 runs away from reaching 1,000 runs in Twenty-20 cricket.
Surely, now’s the time to notch up that elusive maiden fifty in the quick-scoring format. Right, Shemaine?
Young and honest, passionate and sincere, if one wishes to capture the essence of what is truly one of the rising sides in Women’s Cricket, then merely looking at this emotive cricketer suffices.
Playing a bold brand of cricket, Nigar Sultana is committed to the cause of strengthening Bangladesh Cricket. As captain, the utility batter’s task becomes all the more crucial.
And frankly speaking, the record of the 25-year-old is very respectable indeed; the top order right-hander has already amassed 1,225 runs from 65 T20I’s. Interestingly, she’s even hit an unbeaten century in T20I cricket; just the kind of effort that the team dependable on the caliber of its spinners is going to require.
Can Sultana come to Bangladesh’s party this time around?
One of the greatest living cricketers and someone England are, quite frankly, fortunate to have, Sciver excites and inspires without much of a doubt.
A talent that can win matches on the back of her single-minded and determined efforts, Nat Sciver exemplifies the famous line we have come to use as more of a cliche: Never say die!
The bold and vibrant cricketer has been a matchwinner for England for the longest time and if the Heather Knight side are to contest in the deep end of the tournament, then one of the world’s finest current cricketers will have to come good.
That’s exactly the thing that the team of Knight, Wyatt, Bouchier-powered unit willcome to expect of their star performer.
But then it may also come down to managing pressure well.
Among the most dangerous batters operating in the women’s game, the spark that can fire the Proteas to come good and Luus’ deputy, Chloe Tryon is in fine knick just ahead of the World Cup.
Her magnificent and eventually, series-winning fifty against India in the recent Tri-series featured some muscular hits to all sides of the ground.
Tryon’s ability to hit runs freely and quickly, coupled with the ability to up the tempo of scoring will hopefully make the Proteas the enterprising outfit that they truly are.
Surely, this time around the quickfire cameos won’t do; Chloe Tryon will be expected to step up and come good regardless of the opponents.
Why not place some fielders on the fence then, captains?