WT20 : Women’s World T20 Group B Preview
England Women, the 2009 champion, faces competition from India, West Indies, Pakistan and Bangladesh
Group B of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2016 features England, the 2009 champion, as well as the West Indies, three-time semifinalist, along with India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The action kicks off with India taking on Bangladesh at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Tuesday (March 15).
The top two teams will qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament.
In 2014, Bangladesh featured in the ICC Women’s World T20 as the home side. This time, however, it had to qualify for the event, and did so through a mixture of hard work and talent. Jahanara Alam’s girls cruised through the draw in the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier in Thailand last year to make it to the final of the tournament and ensure qualification for India. In the final, the side came up against a gritty Ireland and lost out on the title in a last-over thriller.
Its young spinners will be keen to make a splash on the biggest stage. Rumana Ahmed, the spin-bowling allrounder who was Player of the Tournament at the qualifier, is backed by Fahima Khatun and Khadija Tul Kubra. The batting has been shored up by Sharmin Akhter, Ayasha Rahman and Fargana Hoque, while Alam, with her pace bowling, has been leading from the front and Nigar Sultana Joty is an energetic presence behind the wickets.
Squad: Jahanara Alam (capt), Ayasha Rahman, Fahima Khatun, Fargana Hoque, Salma Khatum, Khadija Tul Khubra, Lata Mondal, Nahida Akter, Nigar Sultana (wk), Panna Ghosh, Ritu Moni, Rumana Ahmed, Sanjida Islam, Shaila Sharmin, Sharmin Akhter.
The 2009 champion, and finalist in 2012 and 2014, will want to keep up its regular appearance in the deep end of the tournament. Leading the team is the experienced Charlotte Edwards, who will benefit from the backroom nous and positivity of new coach Mark Robinson. England had a disappointing Women’s Ashes series at home, but bounced back a few months later to pull off a 2-1 T20I series win against South Africa in February.
Sarah Taylor, who recently crossed 2,000 runs in the shortest format of the game, has carried forward her Women’s Big Bash League form, smashing three consecutive fifties against South Africa at a strike-rate of nearly 140. She has received good support from Edwards and Heather Knight in propping up the scoring, while Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole, the strike bowlers, have been dependable.
Squad: Charlotte Edwards (capt), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Georgia Elwiss, Natasha Farrant, Lydia Greenway, Rebecca Grundy, Jenny Gunn, Danielle Hazell, Amy Jones, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor (wk), Danielle Wyatt.
India is a side in full form. Mithali Raj’s team has been able to prepare for the ICC Women’s World T20 2016 at home through series wins against Australia (2-1, away) and Sri Lanka (3-0, home). The team has played bold cricket with batting, bowling and fielding clicking. Smriti Mandhana, the left-hand batter; VR Vanitha, the opener; Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy have all soaked in pressure and played around the experienced Raj. Shikha Pandey, the medium pacer, has found her groove opening the bowling, Jhulan Goswami is an ever-present threat, while the spin options in Anuja Patil – who can be handy with the bat – Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht and Rajeshwari Gayakwad have won matches for the side in varied conditions and will be a handful at home.
India has failed to make the semifinal in the past two editions, but, riding high on confidence, will expect nothing less this time.
Squad: Mithali Raj (capt), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Thirush Kamini, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Niranjana Nagarajan, Shikha Pandey, Anuja Patil, Deepti Sharma, VR Vanitha, Sushma Verma, Poonam Yadav.
Pakistan has never made it to the knockout stage of the ICC Women’s World T20, finishing seventh out of ten teams in the last edition, with wins over Ireland and Sri Lanka during the competition. Since 2014, though, Pakistan managed important T20I series wins against a strong South Africa side as well as Bangladesh. A 3-0 sweep at the hands of West Indies late last year would not have been ideal preparation for the world event, but given its busy international schedule in the coming months, it will be eager to gain experience and the psychological advantage against two of the teams it will face: India and England.
Pakistan has a mix of new faces and old hands. Sana Mir has led her team admirably, with Nain Abidi, Bismah Maroof, Asmavia Iqbal and Nida Dar all playing crucial roles in recent series.
Squad: Sana Mir (capt), Bismah Maroof, Javeria Khan, Nida Dar, Sadia Yousuf, Nain Abidi, Sidra Nawaz, Aliya Riaz, Sidra Ameen, Sania Khan, Iram Javed, Asmavia Iqbal, Nahida Khan, Muneeba Ali, Anam Amin.
West Indies Women
West Indies is an explosive side, packed with big hitters who can clear the boundaries with ease, handy allrounders who can change the game, and match-winning spinners ideal for the T20 game in the subcontinent. The side finished fifth in the 2009 edition of the ICC Women’s World T20, but has made it to the semifinal in all editions since. West Indies has been able to mix its natural flair with consistency in recent times, which has allowed it to challenge Australia for the top spot in the ICC Women’s Championship table and, it will hope, in the ICC Women’s World T20 as well.
In the 2010 World T20, Deandra Dottin made history by smashing an unbeaten 112 to become the first woman to score a T20I hundred, reaching her century in just 38 balls. She can be equally destructive with her pace bowling, as 25 wickets from 34 innings show. Dottin will be leading her team’s charge in group B, along with Stafanie Taylor, the captain, while the experienced Anisa Mohammed will be a handful with her offspin.
The side lost a T20I series away in South Africa 2-1 in February-March, but will be hoping the experience from those games, as well as its matches against Pakistan in November last year, which it swept 3-0, will hold it in good stead.
Squad: Stafanie Taylor (capt), Shakera Selman, Merissa Aguilleira (wk), Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Stacy-Ann King, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Kight, Hayley Mathews, Anisa Mohammed, Shaquana Quintyne, Tremayne Smartt.