The ICC Women’s World Cup gets underway in Australia tonight/tomorrow (depending on what time zone you’re reading in), with eight teams battling to become the world’s best.
- Australia, the hosts, are among the favourites. They won the trophy in South Africa last time around without suffering defeat at any stage, something captain Karen Rolton will be hoping to replicate on home soil.
- England, perhaps surprisingly for those who are familiar only with the recent form of their male counterparts, are also one of the favourites to win the trophy.Charlotte Edwards is the current World Player of the Year, and the side, they currently hold the Ashes, and they have a real chance of victory
- India made the final of the last tournament, but aren’t expected to reproduce that success this time around. They have lost their last eight ODIs in Australia, so they are unlikely to be looking forward to facing Australian conditions again.
- New Zealand are another of the stronger sides, having made the semi-finals in South Africa, and they drew last month’s series 2-2 in Australia, so they will be familiar with Australian conditions as well as with the Aussie side’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Pakistan aren’t one of the powerhouses of the women’s game, having had to qualify to make it this far. Recent events back home may prove a distraction, but Sana Mir is highly rated by some who (unlike me) have seen her play.
- South Africa also had to qualify after a poor showing in the last tournament, and lost every match against England this summer, so are unlikely to give the top teams many sleepless nights.
- Sri Lanka might cause an upset and make the semi-finals if Dedunu Silva can give them a good start when batting, but they aren’t thought to be genuine contenders.
- The West Indies have barely played any matches since the last World Cup, and as such are something of an unknown quantity, but on past form they will struggle to make much of an impact.
You can follow the tournament here.