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.

Shafali Verma’s early sixes and Poonam Yadav’s latest starring role helped India secure an 18-run ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 victory over Bangladesh in Perth.

Verma smashed a 17-ball 39, including four sixes, in the Powerplay to steer India to the highest total of the competition so far with 142 for six.

Two wickets apiece for Salma Khatun and Panna Ghosh were not enough to halt momentum, nor 35 runs from top-scorer Nigar Sultana Joty as Bangladesh fell short of an upset at the WACA.

Yadav, the hero in India’s opening-night victory with four wickets against Australia, once again impressed to take her total to the tournament to seven after just two matches.

India lost Tanya Bhatia early but 16-year-old Verma once again showed her star potential by hitting two fours and four sixes in her first 15 balls to steer her country to the highest Powerplay score of the tournament so far at 54 for two.

Verma’s stint was however short-lived, Shamima Sultana juggling a catch off captain Khatun to halt the teenager’s impressive knock at 39.

Bangladesh’s third wicket was a big one as captain Harmanpreet Kaur was dismissed for eight, Rumana Ahmed with the catch at backward point for Panna’s second scalp.

Jemimah Rodrigues posted a steadying 34 off 37 before being run out by Nahida Akter as Bangladesh slowed the rate.

Deepti Sharma and Richa Ghosh put on 19 for the fifth wicket before the latter was caught at the boundary by Nahida for 14 as captain Salma doubled her tally.

Sharma was the next to depart, run-out after a mix-up in the middle with Veda Krishnamurthy (20), who swept four boundaries in her late cameo to take India to an impressive 142 in the absence of Smriti Mandhana.

In contrast, Bangladesh’s start was slow and Shamima was the first to perish when caught at extra cover off Shikha Pandey.

Murshida Khatun’s 30 off 26 got the wheels in motion but the opener was dismissed in the seventh by Arundathi Reddy, Richa Ghosh with the catch at extra cover.

Sanjida Islam (10) and Nigar Sultana (35) put on a 17-run third wicket stand until the former was caught behind by Bhatia off Yadav, before Reddy got her second wicket as Fargana Hoque fell for a duck.

Five boundaries from Nigar Sultana upped the total but she lost her partner Fahima Khatun for 17 in the 15th over as opening-night hero Yadav took her second scalp.

The wickets kept on falling at the WACA, Nigar Sultana was the next victim as Reddy caught her off Rajeshwari Gayakwad before Jahanara Alam was dismissed for ten.

Shikha Pandey took her second wicket by bowling Ahmed in the final over, but Yadav finished the evening with the best bowling figures of three for 18 as India made it two from two in Group A.

 

Scores in brief

 

India beat Bangladesh by 18 runs, WACA Ground, Perth

India 142-6, 20 overs (Shafali Verma 39, Jemimah Rodrigues 34; Salma Khatun 2-25, Panna Ghosh 2-25)

Bangladesh 124-8, 20 overs (Nigar Sultana Joty 35, Poonam Yadav 3-18, Shikha Pandey)

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