The women’s T20 World Championships are underway in the Caribbean, and favourites Australia have got off to a dream start. The tournament is held every two years, with the top 10 Twenty20 countries competing, and the Aussies are hot favourites to claim their fourth title.
Australia have won their opening two matches, defeating Pakistan by 53 runs last Friday and Ireland by 9 wickets on Sunday. In the match against Ireland the Aussie bowlers, spearheaded by Ellyse Perry, held their opponents to just 93 before Alyssa Healy scored the fastest 50 in the tournament’s history to lead Australia in running down the modest total in less than 10 overs.
Australia will expect tougher opposition in their two remaining pool matches, against New Zealand and India, but are in pole position to grab one of the two semi-final spots up for grabs in their half of the draw. India are also undefeated, having won by 34 runs against New Zealand and 7 wickets (with an over remaining) against Pakistan.
India started that innings on 10 runs due to ill-discipline from Pakistan, however, with Pakistan docked 5 runs on two separate occasions due to running on an unsafe area of the pitch (after 3 warnings). India also received a warning, but were careful to avoid offending again. Pakistan’s runs scored when they ran on the wet area of the pitch were also disallowed.
Without this penalty India would have faced the prospect of needing 9 runs from their final over – which is doable, but not a foregone conclusion by any means. India and Australia will meet in the final pool match, in a game that will likely decide seedings for the semi-finals.
New Zealand, as mentioned above, have lost their only game of the tournament so far, and will face Australia on Wednesday. If they lose that match they will likely be out of contention for one of the top two spots in Group B, barring a dramatic collapse from India against Ireland, and so will be highly motivated (as if New Zealand ever need extra motivation when playing Australia at anything).
The Group A matches have been heavily affected by rain, with England and Sri Lanka awarded a point each after their match had to be called off. The only completed game has been a comprehensive 50 run victory for hosts the West Indies over Bangladesh (who were bowled out for 46 after 14.4 overs). The West Indian bowling masked their own batting frailty, posting just 106.