India, the runner-ups in the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup in England in 2017 will have to punch above their weight to have a chance at qualifying for the semi-finals.
India, the runner-ups in the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup in England in 2017 will have to punch above their weight to have a chance at qualifying for the semi-finals.

The sixth edition of the ICC Women’s World Cup gets underway on November 9 in West Indies and the buzz around the first-ever standalone ICC Women’s World T20 has been immense. Powerhouses Australia and New Zealand are in Group B comprising India, Pakistan and qualifiers Ireland.

While Group A consists defending champion West Indies, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Australia, three-time ICC Women’s World T20 and the Np.1 ranked team in the ICC Women’s ranking for T20Is, are the firm favourites to top the group. Giving them stiff competition will be the second-ranked New Zealand led by  Amy Satterthwaite.

India, the runner-ups in the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup in England in 2017 will have to punch above their weight to have a chance at qualifying for the semi-finals.

Here’s the preview of Group B

Australia

Australia boast of the likes of powerful batters like captain Meg Lanning, vice-captain Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney and Ellyse Perry, who recently played her 100th one-day international.

Their bowling too is strong, with the second-highest wicket-taker in the women’s T20I game, Perry, their star with 90 wickets at 20.07 and a good economy rate of 5.92. Megan Schutt, the top bowler in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s T20I Rankings, takes her wickets at 23.11 and has an even better economy rate of 4.35.

Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux and Georgia Wareham complete a well-rounded bowling attack.

Squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes, Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

New Zealand

Right on top of the batting order are two of the best in the business – Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine, and there’s a lot of batting firepower lower down in the form of captain Amy Satterthwaite and Katey Martin, while the bowling, led by Lea Tahuhu and Leigh Kasperek, can threaten most oppositions.Bates is the No.1 batter in the rankings, and is in excellent form, especially after stepping down as captain and focussing on her batting.

If Bates is the one that, while scoring quickly, goes on and builds long innings and bats deep, Devine is the one that truly puts the fear of god in the opposition bowlers. Also a handy medium-pacer, she scores at a strike rate of 123.91 in T20Is, the perfect foil to Bates and the ideal batter up the order.

Squad: Amy Satterthwaite (c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout (wk), Sophie Devine, Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Anna Peterson, Harriet Rowe, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin

India

While they will back themselves to get the better of Ireland, they will have to keep pressure under check against Pakistan, and beat at least one of the top two to stand a chance of making it past the group stage. Hence, the opening game against New Zealand will be crucial.

The selectors are hoping that a young squad will make the difference for them. The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side has seven members who have played fewer than 15 T20Is, with one uncapped player in D Hemalatha. The youngsters, including batter Jemimah Rodrigues, wicket-keeper batter Taniya Bhatia, bowlers Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Mansi Joshi and Radha Yadav, have given a good account of themselves when they’ve had a chance.

But it will be up to the more experienced Mithali Raj, Poonam Yadav, Kaur and Smriti Mandhana to insulate the fresh faces from the pressures of a big tournament.

Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Taniya Bhatia (wk), Ekta Bisht, Dayalan Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Anuja Patil, Mithali Raj, Arundathi Reddy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav.

Pakistan

Pakistan have not been too successful at the ICC Women’s World T20 over the years, failing to progress past the group stage in all six editions in the past.

They have been drafted into a difficult group in the tournament, where they will face off against Australia, India, New Zealand and Ireland.

The team have the talent and experience to make a significant impact, though, but they must play like a cohesive unit to challenge the more obvious tournament favourites. Strong returns from veterans like Bismah Maroof, Sana Mir, Javeria Khan and Nahida Khan will be key to their success in the Caribbean.

Squad: Aiman Anwer, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Javeria Khan (c), Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Natalia Pervaiz, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sana Mir, Sidra Ameen, Sidra Nawaz

Ireland

Ireland will be participating in the ICC Women’s World T20 for the third time and will want to make it count after putting in some good performances to seal their spot by finishing second in the qualifiers earlier this year.

But Ireland are currently No.10 in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s T20I Team Rankings, and they will have to up their game when they face the top sides in the Caribbean.

They are coming off an inconsistent run in the 20-over format. In 2018, in nine T20Is, they have won five and lost four. In the qualifier, though, they were on a winning spree, winning everything before the final against Bangladesh.

So what they need is a collective and consistent effort in the marquee tournament.

Squad: Laura Delany (c), Kim Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Gaby Lewis, Lara Maritz, Ciara Metcalfe, Lucy O’Reilly, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Clare Shillington, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron

(ICC inputs)