Fifteen months after the Women’s World Cup final at Lord’s, all eyes will be on the next big marquee event – the ICC Women’s World T20. The 2018 edition will be the first standalone Women’s T20 championship and will take place in the West Indies from November 9-24.
What makes this Women’s World T20 special is that it reflects the changing face of the women’s game world over. Gone are the days of the double headers with men, with the semi-finals and finals hours before the men’s matches in the evening.
For one, all the matches will be broadcast live for the first time in more than 200 countries around the world. The 50-over World Cup didn’t see a uniform broadcast, while some matches didn’t even have a umpire referral. This edition, however, will feature the Decision Review System (DRS) using ball-tracking and edge detection technology, implemented for the first time at any ICC World T20 event – men’s or women’s.
But even as the International Cricket Council is putting in place things to ensure that the first Women’s World T20 is a success, the crux of the matter remains that women’s cricket should be played on a more regular basis, and attract audience.
In that regard, the profile of women’s cricket has, in fact, increased, especially in India, in the last year. The runner-up finish in 2017 saw a huge increase in popularity and exposure for women’s cricketers in India.
And this change is reflected in the number of matches that the teams have played. Despite not playing international cricket for six months after the World Cup final, India has now played the most number of international matches in the last 15 months, even more than Australia and England — two pioneers of the women’s game.
|Team||Matches Played across formats|
India, since February 2018, have played 12 ODIs and 20 T20Is, with the shortest format being played a lot more. Apart from the Asia Cup in June where they finished as runners-up, India also hosted a T20 tri-series involving Australia and England in Mumbai in March this year.
Only Bangladesh have played the same number of T20I matches, which is due to the fact that they won both the Asia Cup and ICC World T20 qualifiers in July. In contrast, the surprise Asia Cup champions have played only six ODIs.
For context, 15 months before the 50-over World Cip (1 Mar 2016 and 23 Jun 2017), India had played just seven t20I matches, with Australia, England, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa playing three each. In the same period, India played 14 ODIs, which included the World Cup qualifiers, with South Africa topping the list at 32 matches. New Zealand and Ireland played 15 each while Australia and England played 12.
T20Is played since World Cup 2017
|Team||T20Is Played||Won/Lost||W/L Ratio|
Most of the top teams have played a number of ODIs because of the stipulations of the ICC Women’s ODI Championship, where points from bilateral series are counted towards qualifying for the next 50-over World Cup.
However, T20Is are organised at the discretion of the participating boards, hence the number of games played would vary. While all teams play a T20I series of different lengths when they are on your for the ODI series, there have been a few independent T20I series as well this year, in preparation for the World T20.
ODIs played since World Cup 2017
|Team||ODIs played||Won/Lost/NR||W/L Ratio|
While non-Asian teams may not have had the benefit of playing the Asia Cup, they had the two major women’s T20 leagues to get crucial match practice in the shortest format – the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia (9 December 2017 to 4 February 2018) and the Women’s Cricket Super League in England (10 August to 1 September 2017 and 22 July to 27 August 2018).
Among Indians, only Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy played in the the leagues. Mandhana finished as the highest run-getter and was named Player of the Tournament at the recently concluded Super League.
While number of international matches is poor indicator for form, it certainly shows good match practice and preparation. There is still a long ways to go in terms of the volume of matches catching up with the men’s formats, but as with many things in the women’s game, the count is moving in the right direction.
One thing is for certain: with women’s T20 increasingly becoming a faster and more powerful game, the tournament in West Indies is sure to be a lot more competitive.