The ICC Women’s World T20 2018 island-hopped through the Caribbean, breaking new ground everywhere it went. As the first stand-alone edition for women, it was up to this tournament to set a high benchmark, which it did on and off the field.
The athletes and the fans are the two critical pillars of sporting spectacle, and neither disappointed. The best female cricketers in the world put on a stellar show, with Australia eventually taking the top honours, beating England in the final to claim their first trophy since 2014. And the people of the Caribbean embraced the event, bringing an atmosphere to games that will be hard to replicate.
Here’s a quick recap of some of the high points in this tournament
Harmanpreet Kaur starts well
When it comes to hitting sixes against spin, there is none better than Harmanpreet Kaur, who set the tournament up for success with a blistering century in the opening game. Her knock of 103 off 51 balls against New Zealand featured eight sixes, one short of the highest-in-an-innings mark of nine set by Deandra Dottin. The Indian captain was also the tournament’s second highest run-getter, and even though her side bowed out in the semi-final, she finished the tournament having hit 13 sixes, more than twice as many as any other player.
Healy finishes on a high
In a format known for a high level of variation, Alyssa Healy showed incredible consistency in the tournament, where she had a lowest score of 22. The Australia wicket-keeper finished the tournament with 225 in just five innings, passing 40 in four and scoring fifties in two of them. Her tally was 42 more than the next player, indicative of the level she was playing at. She also set a record for the joint fastest fifty in Women’s World T20s, getting to the mark off 21 balls against Ireland.
Perry the bowler shines
Ellyse Perry became the highest wicket-taker in tournament history in the semi-finals, taking her tally to 35 when she took two wickets against the West Indies. Often batting at No. 7 in the Australian line-up, the all-rounder more than compensated with the ball, taking nine wickets and finishing the second highest wicket-taker in the tournament. When she took her final wicket in the championship game, she also became only the first Australian second player to reach 100 T20I wickets.
Tournament sets six record
Despite boundaries being at their maximum for the most of the event, and pitches not always being batting-friendly, the tournament saw a record 75 sixes hit, eclipsing the previous mark of 57 set in 2014. Sixes were also hit at a higher rate, with a six hit for every 65.06 balls faced, the best in tournament history.
Caribbean crowds show they love their cricket
If the World Cup 2017 was considered a well-attended tournament, the World T20 2018 did even better. The average crowd attendances throughout the tournament surpassed numbers seen in England. The Guyana National Stadium in Georgetown saw almost 6,500 people attend the opening day’s triple header, while the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium saw a high of more than 7,500 people for the last group game Saint Lucia hosted.
Both those marks were bettered by Antigua, with some 9,000 people attending the semi-finals, and more than 10,000 turning up for the final at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, despite the home side not being involved. The turnouts set the template for future events, and highlighted the value of women’s cricket as its own spectacle.
(The article was first published on icc-cricket.com)