The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia saw the hosts crowned champions for the fifth time, capping a tournament that saw more runs scored and audiences reached than ever before. The 2020 edition was the second straight standalone Women’s T20 World Cup and it lived up to its billing.
Sixes hit reached 76 in 2020, the most of any tournament, the run-rate of 6.43 was the highest and the average first innings total grew significantly to 139.
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A stunning 86,174 fans checked into the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground for the final, setting a new attendance record not just for a women’s sporting event in Australia, but for women’s cricket globally.
The seventh edition had debutants in Thailand, former winners West Indies falling in the group stages and first-time finalists in India (a very young squad at that, as well), pointing towards a competitive and vibrant T20I landscape set to gather more steam in years to come.
Next, South Africa will provide the stage for the 2022 showpiece, building on a successful hosting of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 and the momentum provided by an outstanding spectacle Down Under.
The tradition of welcoming touring sides to the Cape stretches back to 1960 and they hosted the Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2005, heralding the Proteas’ growth into one of the world’s best teams.
Indeed, Dane van Niekerk’s side will hope playing on home soil in two years’ time will help them take the crucial step past the semi-finals. They’ve twice fallen in the final four – in 2014 and 2020 – losing this time’s rain-curtailed semi-final by the DLS method.
Batter Laura Woolvardt and all-rounder Nadine De Klerk - both 20 - shone in their semi-final defeat to hosts Australia and could reach the next level of stardom with inspirational individual displays at home.
South Africa as hosts are the only team to have qualified for the 2022 tournament, while the seven other top teams in the ICC Women’s T20I Team Rankings on 30 November 2021 will qualify automatically for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2022. The other two teams will be confirmed at the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers 2021.
As always, all eyes will be on Australia as Meg Lanning aims to prolong a dynasty that has yielded five T20 World Cup titles and two ODI World Cup victories.
Signs are that rivals are closing on the world’s dominant team, beaten in the group stages by India and given scares by Sri Lanka and South Africa, but, make no mistake, Australia will be the ones to beat once again.
England have unearthed a young spin group the envy of the rest of the world, headed by 20-year-old Sophie Ecclestone, with teenagers Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues and Richa Ghosh set to sparkle for India.
Also Read: India’s T20 World Cup report card
West Indies, winners in 2016, face a period of evolution after falling in the group stage in Australia, beaten by ever-improving Pakistan, while New Zealand have been there before when it comes to the latter stages too. There were also reasons for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to be cheerful, with impressive performances aplenty against nations that were once out of reach.
Then there was Thailand, who won hearts with their plucky performances on debut and will doubtless grow from their experience of playing top teams such as England and South Africa.
One thing is for certain - the format continues to develop and the fact that all 104 ICC Members are afforded T20I status will make for interesting viewing in the next couple of years.
Change is the only thing staying the same in the women’s game at the moment, and South Africa 2022 could see it climb to great heights once more.
With inputs from ICC