Predictably, there were no West Indian women in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 Team of the Tournament after the 2016 champions faltered badly to go out in the first round.

The West Indies Women started with a seven-wicket win over Thailand before being blitzed by Pakistan and then England. Their final game against South Africa was abandoned on account of persistent showers.

But in those losses there were no individual performances of note, leaving the ICC selectors with the easy choice of leaving them out.

The selectors did have a tough time though, with five players from Australia’s victorious squad being named to the Team of the Tournament.

Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney did damage aplenty with the bat and the two reprise their roles as openers in the final XI.

They’re joined by fast bowler Megan Schutt, who took four wickets in the Final against India to finish as leading wicket-taker with 13, and left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen.

There is also a spot for captain Meg Lanning, who led Australia from the front both with the bat and in the field to guide her country to a fifth Women’s T20 World Cup title.

The side was pulled together by a selection panel featuring commentators and former international players Ian Bishop, Anjum Chopra and Lisa Sthalekar, journalist Raf Nicholson and ICC representative Holly Colvin.

 

 The team of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 (in batting order) is:

 

  1.     Alyssa Healy (wk) (Australia) – 236 runs at 39.33, seven dismissals
  2.     Beth Mooney (Australia) – 259 runs at 64.75
  3.     Nat Sciver (England) – 202 runs at 67.33
  4.     Heather Knight (England) – 193 runs at 64.33
  5.     Meg Lanning (c) (Australia) – 132 runs at 44
  6.     Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa) – 94 runs at strike rate of 149
  7.     Jess Jonassen (Australia) – 10 wickets at 14.00
  8.     Sophie Ecclestone (England) – eight wickets at 6.12
  9.     Anya Shrubsole (England) – eight wickets at 10.62
  10.     Megan Schutt (Australia) – 13 wickets at 10.30
  11.     Poonam Yadav (India) – 10 wickets at 11.9
  12.     Shafali Verma (India) – 163 runs at strike rate of 158.25

 

Healy and Mooney broke their own record set in 2018 with the most runs as a partnership in a Women’s T20 World Cup, with 352 at an average close to 60.

They also made their second century partnership in four innings while Healy lit up Melbourne to record the quickest 50 in a Final and the highest score in the showcase.

The latter was beaten by her partner a few overs later, with Mooney’s unbeaten 78 seeing her reach 259 runs - the most for one player at any edition of the tournament.

The Australian pair are followed in the team by another stellar duo, with nobody bettering the 169-run partnership made by Nat Sciver and Heather Knight against Thailand.

The middle-order batters were in inspired form throughout, Knight becoming the first England cricketer to register centuries in all three formats with her ton against the debutants.

Sciver’s consistency was remorseless in Australia, scoring half-centuries in three of England’s four completed matches to end her tournament with 202 runs and two wickets.

Ensconcing herself in the middle order is Lanning, who steered her country to a historic fifth Women’s T20 World Cup title and the first on home soil.

Her 49 in the semi-final against South Africa will be remembered as one of the most vital innings of the competition, while her tournament-defining captaincy sees her named skipper for this team.

Laura Wolvaardt only batted in two innings but certainly made her mark on the action.

The 20-year-old struck 53 not out to take South Africa beyond Pakistan, with a glorious array of straight and cover drives lighting up the Sydney Showground.

And she almost went one better in the semi-final against Australia, another eye-catching knock of 41 not out seeing her team finish just short of the Final.

As for the bowlers, few could match the feats of left-arm spinner Jonassen, who finished with ten scalps in her six matches.

The Australian took at least one wicket in each, with no better haul than the three for 20 against India in the Final which clinched a fifth title.

She’s joined in the XI by two record-breaking England bowlers in spinner Sophie Ecclestone and pacer Anya Shrubsole.

No bowler has taken more than Shrubsole’s 41 Women’s T20 World Cup wickets, with eight coming in her four matches Down Under.

For Ecclestone, meanwhile, the sky is the limit for a 20-year-old who has taken a wicket in her last 18 T20I matches.

A tournament tally of eight for 49 combines both wicket-taking ability and a stunning economy rate for Ecclestone, who now sits top of the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Bowling Rankings.

Coming in at ten is Schutt, with no player bettering the 13 wickets she took at a single tournament.

That all came to the perfect conclusion at the MCG for Schutt, finishing with four for 18 against an India line-up she had feared to win the Final for Australia.

Rounding off the XI is leg-spinner Poonam Yadav, who had Australia in knots in a dramatic opening game of the tournament.

India’s leading T20I wicket-taker took four for 19 in the opener and didn’t look back, bagging three against Bangladesh before rounding off with wickets in each match.

Taking her place as 12th is teenage sensation Shafali Verma – who broke record after record at the top of India’s order.

Fearless cricket had the opposition running scared of the 16-year-old, with her devastating 163 runs coming at a jaw-dropping strike rate of 158.25.

India and England face off in the first of Thursday’s semi-finals after finishing top of Group A and second in Group B respectively at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

In previous ICC tournaments England have come out on top, beating India in both the 2017 50-over final and the 2018 Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final - but this time their opponents are in inspired form as the only side to win all their group matches.

One of them has the tournament’s top wicket-taker and the other the top run-scorer — but who else could be crucial in deciding their side’s final fate?

 

Shafali Verma v Anya Shrubsole

 

There’s no doubt England know who they need to remove early for their strongest chance of beating India on Thursday.

Teenager Shafali Verma has taken world cricket by storm in Australia for her fearless brand of batting has helped her become the top-ranked batter in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s T20I Player Rankings.

The 16-year-old prodigy is India’s highest run-scorer in the competition with 161 and her team will be relying heavily on their opener for another good start in Sydney.

England will take comfort in the fact that Verma’s lack of fear could make her liable to an early exit - something her more experienced opponents have cottoned onto.

Against Australia and Bangladesh, Ellyse Perry and Panna Ghosh took her crucial wicket and England will have been studying her performances in detail in order to do the same.

While England aren’t short of talented bowlers, one who just might be able to suss out Verma best is the experienced Anya Shrubsole.

Only India’s Poonam Yadav has more wickets than Shrubsole at this edition and she became the first England bowler to 100 T20I wickets when hitting the milestone against Pakistan.

With 41 scalps, Shrubsole also the most wickets in the history of the Women’s T20 World Cup and if any team are aware of her threat, it’s India.

Shrubsole’s match-winning six for 46 helped England down India to win the 50-over title at Lord’s in 2017 by nine runs - this time she’ll be keen to stop them getting anywhere near the title.

 

Harmanpreet Kaur v Sophie Ecclestone

 

While stopping Verma is the first task, the key for England will be preventing India’s batters from stepping up collectively in Sydney.

A lack of firepower in the middle order is still a concern for India and that’s exactly where their opponents will need to target.

Captain Harmanpreet Kaur is one to have underwhelmed thus far, hitting double figures in just one of their four group wins, and India will need their star players to step up now more than ever if they want to make it to Sunday’s Final at the MCG.

But England may just have the perfect weapon to keep her away.

The skipper has struggled with spin in Australia with Jess Jonassen, Leigh Kasperek and Shashikala Siriwardena all taking her wicket throughout the group stages.

And England are certainly not lacking in the spin department themselves.

England’s young triumvirate of Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn and Mady Villiers have stolen the headlines Down Under, with Ecclestone now the top-ranked bowler in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s T20I Player Rankings.

Ecclestone has taken wickets in her last 18 T20I matches and has confidence in abundance in this tournament, trusted enough to take the ball in the Powerplay.

Aged 20, she already has 50 T20I wickets to her name – eight of those coming in this Women’s T20 World Cup at the cost of just 49 runs.

 

Nat Sciver v Poonam Yadav

 

Nat Sciver has been in the form of her life in Australia.

The 27-year-old all-rounder has had an outstanding tournament so far, scoring three half-centuries to top the run-scoring charts and steer England to the knockout stages.

Judging by her past record, she’s more than capable of taking that up to four against India.

Sciver scored a half-century against Thursday’s opponents in the 2018 semi-final in the West Indies to pip them to a spot in the final showdown.

But there’s a certain India bowler who has no problems with dismantling the greats.

Poonam Yadav finished as the highest wicket-taker of the pool stages with nine after ripping through Australia’s batting unit on the opening night of the tournament.

If the tournament’s highest wicket-taker comes up against her batting equivalent on Thursday, expect to see fireworks - they’ll both be determined to come out as top dog.

Nat Sciver and England’s spinners combined to devastating effect as victory over West Indies secured their place in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 semi-finals.

All-rounder Sciver picked up from where she left off to score her third half-century of the tournament, helping England to post 143 for five on a tricky track.

West Indies’ response never got going with Lee-Ann Kirby top-scoring with 20 at the Sydney Showground.

That was largely thanks to the spin trio of Sophie Ecclestone (three for seven), Sarah Glenn (two for 16) and Mady Villiers (one for 30), helping dismiss West Indies for 97 to win by 46 runs.

England started afresh with Tammy Beaumont joining Danni Wyatt atop the order but the move didn’t work out, the new opener trapped lbw by Shakera Selman in the first over.

Wyatt then fell to a superb catch in the deep from Hayley Matthews off Anisa Mohammed but in Sciver and captain Heather Knight, England had the best duo for the rebuild job.

With more than 70 per cent of their team’s runs in the tournament, the importance of Knight and Sciver is not lost with the latter reaching her third half-century in four games in this Women’s T20 World Cup.

By then Knight (17) was run out brilliantly by Selman and Fran Wilson had holed out to Britney Cooper at deep midwicket off Afy Fletcher, with England 102 for four with four overs remaining.

Amy Jones, in a new role at No.6, found back-to-back off-side boundaries off Stafanie Taylor but had to watch Sciver finally depart for 57 in the same over to take her tournament tally to 202 runs in four matches.

Just six balls remained as Brunt joined Jones in the middle, the bowler striking boundaries from the last two balls of the innings to take England to 143 for five.

West Indies also tinkered with their top order as Deandra Dottin opened up, but her innings ended on just nine with Ecclestone having her snaffled by short midwicket.

Taylor struck two boundaries off Brunt to end the Powerplay but that was to be her last significant contribution, stretchered off in the eighth over and retiring hurt from the innings.

From there England seized the impetus as star leg-spinner Glenn got into her work, bowling Hayley Matthews with her eighth ball to leave West Indies two down in the ninth over.

It was to get even better for the spin unit, off-spinner Villiers marking her first Women’s T20 World Cup over with a wicket maiden after taking a smart return catch off Shemaine Campbelle.

At 42 for three come halfway, West Indies had work to do with 102 still required and their task was tougher still when Chedean Nation edged Glenn to wicket-keeper Jones without scoring.

Lee-Ann Kirby (20) did her best to inject some momentum with towering sixes off Glenn and Villiers but Anya Shrubsole ended her exploits when the big-hitter was held by Sciver at long-on.

England boast the best economy rate for spinners in the Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 and with each of Ecclestone, Glenn and Villiers bowling a maiden, they weren’t letting up.

Ecclestone, who has now taken wickets in her last 18 T20I matches, had Britney Cooper stumped while Villiers completed back-to-back run-outs of Afy Fletcher and Aaliyah Alleyne.

Ecclestone then had the last say, taking her 100th international wicket by bowling Anisa Mohammed to send England into the last four.

Scores in brief

England beat West Indies by 46 runs, Sydney Showground

England 143-5, 20 overs (Nat Sciver 57, Danni Wyatt 29; Anisa Mohammed 1-23)

West Indies 97 all out, 17.1 overs (Lee-Ann Kirby 20; Sophie Ecclestone 3-7, Sarah Glenn 2-16)

Nat Sciver believes West Indies’ indifferent ICC Women’s T20 World Cup campaign makes them a dangerous prospect for England to face in Sydney.

Sciver’s side know a win at the Showground would almost certainly put them into the semi-finals, marking a significant comeback since their opening defeat to South Africa in Perth.

But the all-rounder feels a tough test is in store when they face the 2016 champions, despite Stafanie Taylor’s side failing to hit their straps Down Under - edging out Thailand before losing to Pakistan.

England themselves have been far from perfect, particularly with openers Amy Jones and Danni Wyatt struggling for form, prompting Sciver to rein in expectations of a comfortable victory.

“I think the pressure of these two games has brought the best out in us,” she said. “We’ve had two pretty clinical performances and put things right that we didn’t do well against South Africa.

“You don’t know what you’ll get from West Indies on the day. The two games they’ve had probably makes them more dangerous. We’ll have to be on our game.

“It’s a tight turnaround, I’m not sure how much training we’ll be doing. We’ll have a review meeting so we know what we need to know about their batters and bowlers ahead of the game.

“It’s hard when batters have a run when they don’t get as many runs as they want to, really. It’s hard to keep putting yourself out there and keep going for the shots that are your strengths.

“I thought Danni did that well against Pakistan and tried to get a few away. She got some luck, which is helpful when you’re feeling a bit out of form.

“I’m hoping that between now and Sunday she can rethink or just take her mind off it.”

For West Indies, meanwhile, there’s no room for anything less than clinical cricket.

Women’s T20 World Cup champions just four years ago, expectation follows Taylor’s charges at every turn but they have flattered to deceive with two far-from-perfect performances to date.

Victories over both England and South Africa are likely required if they are to reach the last four, but belief is still evident for a team that knows they have plenty more to offer.

“It’s about putting partnerships together, believing in themselves and being able to handle the situation as it comes,” said coach Gus Logie.

“Hayley Matthews, Deandra Dottin – these are the people you expect to do well. The captain has been getting scores, but we just haven’t got big scores to put pressure on the opposition.

“It’s do-or-die. The players know that if you win you can go through, but lose and you go home. The onus is upon everyone to dig deeper and produce the performances which they know they can.

“They have done well against England and South Africa in past World Cups, they know they can beat them.

“There’s nothing in the stars that say we can’t make the semi-finals so we have to believe we can.

“The approach will have to be positive and that’s what we’re looking at.”

West Indies women will get their T20 World Cup in Australia off to a start this Saturday with an opener against Thailand but have much improvement to make if they are to reach the heady heights they have in recent times.

There will be two groups of five competing for progress to the semi-finals, with the top two from each group making it through.

The West Indies find themselves in Group B along with England, South Africa, Pakistan and Thailand.

West Indies had a successful tournament in 2018, reaching the semi-finals before being knocked out by the eventual champions Australia. Whilst their form in the format has not been ideal over the last few years, they still have some of the most exciting players in the tournament lining up for them.

Deandra Dottin is among the best attacking batters in the world, particularly if she's facing spin - in the last two years she scores at 8 runs per over against spinners, and only gets out every 38 balls.

With ball in hand, captain Stafanie Taylor will be looking to Shakera Selman to make inroads at the top of the inning - nobody swings the ball more than her over the last two years of T20I cricket, and on the hard fast pitches of Australia, movement through the air will be crucial.

If all goes to plan, West Indies will be more than confident of progressing to the knockout stages.

England made the final in the last edition of the T20 World Cup before, like West Indies, being eliminated by Australia. Heather Knight's side are still somewhat in transition, but a new-found balance relying on Nat Sciver to bowl four overs has allowed them to play an extra specialist batsman - it's given the batting line-up some serious oomph. On the bowling side of things, Sophie Ecclestone is a very important part of the English attack. A tall left-arm orthodox spinner, no player has taken more wickets for England in T20Is since the start of 2018 than Ecclestone, with 35 wickets in that time at an average of 16.82. Offering control as well as attacking threat, she'll be the likely fulcrum of the England attack. Knight will see anything but progress from the group as abject failure, and they'll be eager to go all the way.

Pakistan bowl 76 per cent spin over the last two years - that’s the most of any team in the world during that period. Much like Bangladesh in Group A, this does at least give them a clear blueprint to work to a basic structure they can focus on in the absence of many acclaimed stars. If they have one standout player it's Bismah Maroof, who has notched up 782 T20I runs in the last two years, comfortably the most of any Pakistan batter and the 11th most for anyone in the world. If anyone in Pakistan green is going to spring a shock on the opposition, it'll be her.

In contrast to Pakistan, 76 per cent of the deliveries sent down from South Africa over the last two years, come from pace bowlers, the most of any side in the competition. They were a disappointment at the last T20 World Cup, not reaching the semi-finals. Their bowling is mixed, but their batting is likely to focus around a few key individuals, and one in particular. Alyssa Healy is renowned as an absolute colossus, but Chloe Tryon - at least statistically - is almost keeping pace with her. A powerful left-hander, Tryon is particularly effective against spin bowling, rocketing along at 8.6 runs per over (compared to 7.6 runs per over against seamers). The South African has a particular preference for hitting off spinners, scoring 180  from 113 deliveries against off-break bowlers in T20I cricket. Given how much spin is bowled in T20 cricket, this sets Tryon apart, her strength and power meaning that she doesn’t need pace on the ball to cause damage - South Africa will be looking to her to really lift the scoring rate when she’s at the crease.

Thailand are the most notable presence at this T20 World Cup, an unfamiliar presence in top-level cricket for both men and women. However, much of their success in recent years and in qualification is down to Nattaya Boochatham. A skilful right-arm seamer, Boochatham has taken a lot of wickets since the start of 2018; in fact, in that time period, only Poonam Yadav has taken more international T20 wickets than Boochatham. Undoubtedly, this has been given a boost by the standard of opposition that Thailand have been facing, but it’s been Boochatham who has done the damage in those matches. If Thailand are going to lay a glove on any side at this tournament, she’ll have to be at her best.

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