Nat Sciver of England. photosport
Live updates of the Women’s Cricket World Cup game between England and South Africa.
Here are the eight contenders vying for the world title.
Captain: Meg Lanning
World Ranking: 1
Last time: semifinals
Best result: Champions (six times)
The hot favourites, world’s top-ranked side and most successful team in tournament history, Australia will be eager to avenge a rare disappointment in 2017. The last World Cup in England was one of three occasions in 11 tournaments that Australia failed to finish in the top two, beaten by India in the semifinals. They’ve been on some run since, claiming the ICC Women’s Championship – the qualifying tournament for the World Cup – while losing only once in 21 matches. Australia will be led by Meg Lanning, who averaged 82 in the 2017 event, and will be looking to maintain a phenomenal record that has seen them win 70 of 84 matches in World Cup play.
Captain: Sophie Devine
World Ranking: 5
Last time: fifth
Best result: Champions (2000)
As hosts, New Zealand qualified automatically for the tournament, and the omens bode well given they won the World Cup the last time it was held on these shores. In that 2000 event, the White Ferns triumphed by four runs over Australia in a thrilling final, defending 184 at Bert Sutcliffe Oval to become the first team after Aussie and England to lift the trophy. Their attempts to repeat history will be spearheaded by skipper Sophie Devine, who will be looking to make an impact similar to Kiwi great Debbie Hockley, the competition’s all-time leading scorer with 1501 runs.
Captain: Heather Knight
World Ranking: 3
Last time: Champions
Best result: Champions (four times)
The defending champions were the second nation after Australia to qualify for this year’s event, finishing second in the Women’s Championship while winning 14 of 21 matches. A clash with Australia will open their tournament, having been a distant second to their bitter rivals during a multi-format Ashes series earlier in the summer. But Heather Knight’s side will still be buoyed by memories of their fourth World Cup triumph five years ago, edging India in a dramatic climax after Anya Shrubsole’s six-wicket haul turned the final on his head at a sold-out Lord’s.
Captain: Mithali Raj
World Ranking: 4
Last time: Runners up
Best result: Runners up
India are heading into the World Cup after a 4-1 warm-up series defeat by New Zealand in Queenstown, though the visitors did take the opportunity the rest of some stars and blood of several youngsters. They will be led once more by Mithali Raj, set to play in her sixth World Cup after making her competition debut in 2000. India were the final team to automatically qualify through the Women’s Championship, with 10 wins seeing them finish fourth, but series victories over South Africa in 2018 and England in 2019 confirmed their place among the title hopefuls in New Zealand.
Captain: Sune Luus
World Ranking: 2
Last time: semifinals
Best result: semifinals
South Africa are the solitary side in the world’s top five to have never made a final, previously featuring in six tournaments. Their quest to change that will be seriously hampered by the loss of regular captain Dane van Niekerk, the top wicket-taker at the 2017 World Cup. A veteran of 107 ODIs, van Niekerk was last month ruled out of the tournament after slipping on a wet surface at her home and fracturing her ankle. Sune Luus will attempt to fill those big shoes for a team who were the third nation to qualify, in the process enjoying a 3-0 series triumph on New Zealand shores in 2020.
Captain: Staphanie Taylor
World Ranking: 7
Last time: 6th
Best result: Runners Up (2013)
With a series whitewash against Sri Lanka and further ODI wins against South Africa and India, West Indies finished seventh in the ICC Women’s Championship. They were in Zimbabwe for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier but when the competition was called off, their world ranking of seventh was strong enough to secure a place.
The best of West Indies’ six ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup performances to date came in 2013, when they progressed all the way to the final only to be beaten by Australia.
Two players, Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin, were named in the Team of the Tournament – the former has scored more runs and taken more wickets for her country than anyone else in the competition’s history and leads her side in New Zealand.
Captain: Bismah Marof
World Ranking: 8th
Last time: 8th
Best result: 5th (2009)
Pakistan had flashes of brilliance during the ICC Women’s Championship, including bowling South Africa out for just 63 on their way to an eight-wicket win. They eventually finished fifth, just four points off the top four, and were playing in the qualifier before it was called off. Pakistan have only once made it past the group stage, reaching the Super Six stage in 2009 and finishing fifth. Sana Mir is Pakistan’s leading ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup wicket-taker with 17 while she sits behind only Nain Abidi (337) in her country’s run-scoring charts.
Captain: Nigar Sultana
World Ranking: 6
Last time: Did not qualify
Best result: Maiden appearance
Bangladesh will make their ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup debut. Although not a part of the Women’s Championship and one of the teams in Harare for the Qualifier, Bangladesh qualified as a result of their ranking – it was higher than established heavyweights West Indies and Pakistan. Captain Sultana is a strong performer while Rumana Ahmed has shone with bat and ball in the ODI arena in recent years.