The ICC Women's T20 World Cup gets underway in Australia on 21 February. The second major ICC tournament of the year — the first being the recently concluded under-19 World Cup — will see 10 teams fight it out in the biennial event that was first played in 2009. Eight teams gained automatic qualification for the tournament with Bangladesh and Thailand qualifying through the ICC Women's World T20 Qualifiers. As a preview to the tournament, we take a look at one player from each team to watch out for.
Smriti Mandhana (India)
Since the beginning of 2019, Smriti Mandhana has 621 runs in 19 innings at an average of 34.5 with six half-centuries. Her tally of runs is the most by any women's cricketer in this time frame. Despite a very ordinary 2019, plagued by injuries and an inconsistent run of form, Mandhana stood out head and shoulders above the rest, speaking volumes about the value she brings to the team.
Her recent form is the most impressive with the southpaw making 216 runs at an average of 43.2 in the recent tri-series, also involving Australia and England, in Australia. That she top-scored in the series in conditions where the World Cup will be played will be a big confidence boost for India ahead of the tournament. She also had a successful stint with Hobart Hurricanes in the Women's Big Bash League in 2018. Finishing in the top 20 run-scorers, Mandhana's strike rate of 144.54 was the second-best for any player in the list. Given India's middle-order woes, Mandhana will be expected to step up and give the side a good start.
Danielle Wyatt (England)
Danni Wyatt finished as the top run-getter in the 2019 edition of the Kia Super League with 466 runs at an average of 42.36. The stylish opening batswoman is regarded as one of the most dangerous T20 openers going around in women's cricket. More than the sheer weight of her runs for the Southern Wipers in the 2019 Kia Super League, her strike rate of 166.42 made her a real threat at the top for opponents.
With 105 T20Is for England under her belt, Wyatt is a senior figure in the setup and her carefree attitude at the top gives England the leeway to dictate terms early in an innings. Wyatt has three tons in the format at all levels and finished 2019 with an average of 35.91 and 1600-plus runs in the format. Aside from shining in the Kia Super League, Wyatt showed her form in the Women's Big Bash League too, making 468 runs in 14 matches for Melbourne Renegades Women at an average of 39, including four half-centuries. Even if England have other key batters in the top-order, Wyatt's authoritative starts will decide their fortunes in the T20 World Cup.
Ellyse Perry (Australia)
Perhaps the greatest women's cricketer ever, Ellyse Perry is the standout player in a team of superstars. A complete athlete, Perry once represented the country in a Women's Football World Cup (2011 edition) and then, aced cricket across formats as a terrific all-rounder. She is the highest run-scorer ever in the history of the Women's Big Bash League (2612 runs at an average of 53.30) and the second-highest wicket-taker in Women's T20Is (113 wickets at 18.97).
A mind-blowing cricketer in all formats, T20s never seemed Perry's forte until she rubbished those notions with two outrageous seasons in the WBBL. She top-scored in the 2018/19 edition with 777 runs at an average of 86.33 with two centuries and six half-centuries, remaining unbeaten in seven of the 16 innings she batted. In 2019, an injury cut short her season, but not before she had made 469 runs in 9 innings — 6th in the list of top run-scorers — at an average of 93.8. Her bowling adds to her package as a cricketer and makes Australia the most threatening T20 team in the world. To stop Australia, one needs to stop Perry, and so far, no opposition has been able to manage that.
Javeria Khan (Pakistan)
Pakistan's second-highest run-scorer in T20Is, Javeria Khan has 1744 runs - next to only Bismah Maroof - at an average of 21.8 including eight half-centuries. A former leader, Javeria was influential as a batswoman in Pakistan's 2018 World Cup campaign where they won just one of the four groups matches and crashed out. Javeria top-scored with 136 runs at an average of 45.33 and a strike rate above 130 in that tournament.
Two years hence, she remains one of Pakistan Women's biggest hopes heading into a major tournament Down Under. In 2019 alone, Javeria hit three half-centuries and struck at a rate of 100 in T20Is. What might worry Pakistan is that she has never played T20Is in Australia. In her 9 ODI innings in the country, Javeria has made just 152 runs at an average less than 20. Her recent form, however, makes Javeria Pakistan's best bet in the tournament. She recently played a key role in Pakistan's series sweep over Bangladesh in Pakistan with a fifty in the final game.
Chamari Atapattu (Sri Lanka)
Skipper Chamari Atapattu will be Sri Lanka's most bankable player as they head Down Under for the T20 World Cup. The 30-year old isn't the most accomplished T20 player as an average of just less than 20 suggests, but her experience and ODI form makes her Sri Lanka's biggest star - and hope - for this tournament. She slammed a 113 in Australia against Australia's excellent attack in September 2019 and followed it up with another century - a 103 in 124 balls - at Brisbane in the third ODI of the series.
Her runs in Australia will make Sri Lanka feel safer as they go into the T20 World Cup. A handy medium pace bowler, Atapattu has 24 wickets in her T20I career at an average of around 30. She has the experience of playing in the Kia Super League and Women's Big Bash League and although big runs haven't come by in these leagues, she brings a knowledge of different conditions and will be Sri Lanka's big player in the World Cup.
Chloe Tyron (South Africa)
A proper T20 cricketer with a natural swag, South Africa's vice-captain Chloe Tyron will be her side's key player in this T20 World Cup in Australia. With a strike rate of 132.6 in T20 World Cups and 139.21 in all international T20Is, Tyron is a proper basher and a fantastic middle-order batswoman to have in your side in this format. A rip-roaring death overs cricketer, Tyron was an influential player for Hobart Hurricanes in the recent WBBL edition with her power hitting.
Her 248 runs did not set the run charts ringing, but the rate at which it came - 178.41, the best in the league in the season for batters - had opposition sides clueless. Her familiarity with the conditions will be a big bonus for this Proteas Women's side as they head Down Under for the T20 World Cup. If the top-order can find a few runs and set the game up for Tyron, the middle-order finisher will more often than not blow away the opposition with her power game.
Suzie Bates (New Zealand)
The highest all-time run-scorer in Women's T20I cricket, Suzie Bates is the only women's cricketer to make 3000-plus runs in the format at international level (3195 runs at an average of 31.1). Bates is one of the only two batters - Stafanie Taylor being the other - to score six fifty-plus scores in Women's T20 World Cups, a tournament where her tally of 881 runs in 28 matches is the best by any player.
Her medium pace bowling further adds more value to her package as a cricketer. Bates has 49 T20I wickets from a rather long international career of 14 years and is an all-rounder of the highest quality. In 2016, she became the first player to be named as ICC's Women's ODI and T20I Player of the Year. The White Ferns cricketer has marked her presence in the Women's Super Smash, Women's Big Bash League and the Kia Super League, racking up extremely impressive numbers in each league. Alongside Sophie Devine, Bates will be New Zealand's key player in the upcoming T20 Women's World Cup.
Deandra Dottin (West Indies)
One of the only three centurions in women's T20 World Cups, Deandra Dottin returns to the side after long injury hiatus. The veteran Windies women's cricketer had to undergo a shoulder surgery that kept her out for nearly a year. That, though, doesn't deter the fact that she remains one of West Indies' most influential women's cricketers.
Just before her injury, Dottin had shone in the format in the domestic scene, leading Barbados to a title win with 222 runs at a strike rate of 179.03. A stable middle-order batswoman, Dottin will be more than handy with her pace and bounce in Australian conditions. She has 59 wickets in the format in international cricket - with 26 of those coming in T20 World Cups - and a best of 5 for 5.
In the last two T20 World Cups, Dottin was the joint leading wicket-taker with 9 wickets at 13.55 in 2016 and 10 wickets at 7.7 in the 2018 edition. Her last game for West Indies came in February 2019 but her addition will be a major boost for the Windies. Their performance in the tournament might well hinge on her form given that they come into the T20 World Cup with nine successive losses in the format.
Fargana Hoque (Bangladesh)
One of only two Bangladesh women to hit a T20I century, Fargana Hoque is Bangladesh's leading run-scorer ever in the format with 949 runs in a seven-year career. She has a hundred and two half-centuries and averages just a shade under 20. The 26-year old hit her maiden T20I ton against Maldives in late 2019 and has decent numbers in ODIs too.
Last year, she was at the forefront of a brilliant win for Bangladesh Women over their Pakistan counterparts in an ODI. Chasing 211, Fargana smashed 67 off 97 balls to give Bangladesh a steady start. While her wicket triggered a collapse, Bangladesh won by a wicket to level the series. As they set foot Down Under, Fargana will be key to Bangladesh's campaign in the World Cup. They have only won one game in their 12 T20 World Cup matches. They will look to add on to that tally this World Cup and Fargana's form will be crucial to this.
Chanida Sutthiruang (Thailand)
A key figure in Thailand's run to their maiden cricket World Cup, Chanida Sutthiruang, the seamer, was named ICC's Emerging Player of the Year in December 2019. The 26-year old shone in 2018 in the Women's T20 Asia Cup picking up six wickets, the most by any Thailand woman, in five matches. She further finished the qualifiers to the World Cup as the leading wicket-taker with 12 wickets in five matches at an economy of just over four.
A product of Thailand's under-19 programme, Sutthiruang made her senior debut in 2012 and has since been at the forefront of their rise in women's cricket. The pacer was a part of the Thailand side that won the Gold at the 2017 South-east Asian Games. Sutthiruang has 42 wickets in 35 T20Is at an average of 8.73 and an economy under 4. While those numbers are not against big opponents, Sutthiruang will be ke
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