With the Women’s World T20 about to kick off, the ICC has released their list of players to watch during the historic tournament to be held in the West Indies from 9-24 November 2018.
Australia | Alyssa Healy
There are few players as dangerous as Healy when she gets going, and her form of late has been stupendous. In the last two series Australia have played, she has five half-centuries across eight international innings in both formats, one of them close to a hundred. With the likes of Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry in Australia’s middle order, Healy will have licence to go for her shots from ball one in the Caribbean. Adapting to the conditions will be the challenge for her, both in front of and behind the stumps.
Australia | Megan Schutt
While all the talk is of how spinners are likely to be a big factor in the West Indies, one medium pacer might disagree. Schutt already has a T20I hat trick this year, and she’s been consistent enough to claim the No 1 spot in the ICC Women’s T20I rankings. With her ability to shape the ball into the right-hander, she’s always a threat, and she has added a few changes of pace to her bag of tricks. If there’s some grip on offer, watch out for that leg-cutter.
Bangladesh | Rumana Ahmed
Bangladesh will be brimming with confidence, coming into the Women’s World T20 2018 as Asian champions. Ahmed played a critical hand in that title, with both wickets and runs against India. Having gained experience of the Women’s Big Bash League through the ICC Rookie Program, she will add that value to the team as well. She’s currently ranked sixth in the ICC Women’s T20I Player Rankings.
Bangladesh | Shamima Sultana
Her brisk start set up Bangladesh’s first ever win against India, and she carried that form into the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifiers where she was among the top 10 run-scorers. Sultana also keeps wickets for Bangladesh and will look to turn her habit of providing starts to something more substantial.
England | Tammy Beaumont
Beaumont recently helped write a record that may stand for quite a while. On the back of her maiden T20I hundred, England posted a total of 250 against South Africa in June. Her career numbers don’t do justice to her talent, but her 2018 stats are more revealing. In 10 games, she averages 41 at a strike rate of 140. Having won Player of the Tournament in England’s winning campaign in the 2017 Women’s World Cup, Beaumont will now look to help her team establish their T20 credentials.
England | Sophie Ecclestone
Ecclestone has been a key part of England’s bowling lineup over the past year, taking 12 wickets from nine games in 2018 to date. She was also the third-highest wicket-taker in England’s domestic Super League T20 competition. The 19-year-old is already in her third year of international cricket and is likely to be one of the rising stars of the tournament.
India | Harmanpreet Kaur
While there is much talk about Smriti Mandhana, Kaur is well known on the circuit for her big match temperament and seems to be peaking right in time for her biggest challenge as captain. She has scored more than 40 in her last four T20 matches, including three games against an Australia A side with six internationals. With a new-look, younger squad at her disposal, expect her to express herself more freely in this tournament.
India | Poonam Yadav
Having recently surpassed Jhulan Goswami as India’s highest wicket-taker in T20Is, Yadav’s leg-spin will lead India’s spin challenge. Known for the courage with which she consistently flights the ball, Yadav has also developed a googly over the past year and a half. Even as economy rates have risen in the past year, Yadav has been hard to score off, conceding just 5.65 per over in 20 games this year. She is currently ranked second among bowlers in the ICC Player Rankings.
Ireland | Lucy O’Riley
O’Riley had a dream game in the final of the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier, taking four wickets and effecting a run-out, but it was not enough to win Ireland the title. Her 11 wickets in the tournament, the highest, did ensure that they qualified though. The 18-year-old will be eager to try out her medium pacers on the Caribbean wickets for the first time.
Ireland | Clare Shillington
The 37-year-old Shillington was Ireland’s most consistent batter in the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifiers and helped them get into the final of that tournament, guaranteeing them a place in the West Indies. Up against stiffer opposition, she will be keen to help Ireland to a top-eight finish, one of their goals for the tournament. In her last tournament, Shillington will look to leave international cricket with fond memories.
New Zealand | Suzie Bates
It’s hard to keep Bates out of any list of outstanding players. She is the highest run-scorer in women’s T20Is, sitting at the top of the select list of batters with more than 2,000 T20I runs, and is also tied for most appearances, with 104. With captaincy duties now passing to Amy Satterthwaite, Bates can focus fully on what she does best, score runs at the top of the order. She needs one more half-century to equal Stafanie Taylor for the most T20I half-centuries as well.
New Zealand | Lea Tahuhu
Modern T20 is tough on bowlers, but Tahuhu stands out because of her express pace. Despite bowling often in the first six overs, she has a career economy rate of less than six runs per over. As one of the handful of fast bowlers who can swing the ball at pace, New Zealand will look to Tahuhu to provide early inroads with the white ball in hand.
Pakistan | Javeria Khan
Having been named captain even after the return of Bismah Mahroof from surgery, Khan has added responsibility on her in this World T20. But the right-hander has shown glimpses of form, scoring well in all three T20Is against Bangladesh, as well as making contributions against Australia. She has a healthy average of 26 this year and a strike rate that is well above her career numbers. In her first big assignment as captain, Pakistan’s underdog status will play to her advantage.
Pakistan | Anam Amin
The only Pakistani currently in the top five of the ICC Women’s Player Rankings, Amin holds the fourth spot among bowlers. A rare haul of 3-0 against Bangladesh in the recent T20 series underscored the value of the left-arm spinner in the side. Used to opening the bowling for the side in the T20 format, Amin will be one player Pakistan would rely on for early control, and more if the pitch takes turn. With a career economy rate of just 4.83, she has gone even lower this year, at just 3.69 runs per over.
South Africa | Dane van Niekerk
The South African captain opens the batting for her team in T20Is and comes into the tournament in form. She was the highest run-scorer in the ODI series against the Windies, with 176 runs in three innings. Considering that she has shots for every corner of the ground, she is especially dangerous in the first six overs. And with her leg-spin, she provides variety to a strong pace bowling unit.
South Africa | Chloe Tryon
Glance through the list of top 50 run-scorers in women’s T20Is, and Tryon’s name languishes near the bottom. But her strike rate of 142.45 is unmatched. The next best from among that list strikes at 127, which means that even if she’s around for a couple of overs, Tryon can change the momentum of a match. One of the best hitters in the game, she could be the trump card the Proteas need to put in their best ever performance in a World T20.
Sri Lanka | Chamari Athapaththu
Having led Sri Lanka to their first ODI win over India in five years in September, the captain will be keen to make an impact in what is her team’s stronger format. Athapaththu is the only Sri Lankan to have played in the Women’s Big Bash League and England’s Super League, and will certainly be the prized wicket for every opposition. As her 178 not out against Australia in the Women’s World Cup 2017 showed, Athapaththu can single-handedly destroy bowling attacks on her day.
South Africa | Shashikala Siriwardene
The former Sri Lankan captain was the third-highest scorer in the recent T20I series against India, and showed both intelligence and intent in every innings she played. While she will provide stability in the batting, the bowling the attack will revolve around her canny off-spin. Against India at home, she provided control even on flat pitches and regularly troubled the left-handers. Watch out for this veteran.
West Indies | Stafanie Taylor
The second-highest run-scorer in women’s T20I history, Taylor also holds top spot among the all-rounders in the ICC Women’s T20I Player Rankings. With the experience of playing cricket in T20 Leagues around the world, Taylor’s skills are already formidable. This tournament will test her temperament as a leader, with the added pressure of defending a title in front of a passionate home crowd.
West Indies | Anisa Mohammed
The only player with more than 100 T20I wickets, Mohammed took her third career five-for in the recent series at home against the Proteas. The last three of those five wickets were a hat-trick, making Mohammed the second player to take one this year. On home pitches that could be spin-friendly, expect the off-spinner to play a big part in the Windies’ title defence.
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