The semi-finalists of the Womens T20 World Cup are now established, as are the timings of their matches. Tomorrow when I shall be at work Australia face India, while on Friday England take on the hosts South Africa. This post looks at the four sides and their passage to the semi-finals.
They came into this tournament as heavy favourites and there is no great reason to alter that assessment. They have disposed of everyone in their path to date. They still have two tough contests ahead of them, but all available evidence suggests that they are thoroughly capable of adding yet more silverware to the best stocked trophy cabinet in international cricket.
England are also unbeaten, and finished their group stage with a flourish (a game I know about only at second hand due to work commitments), beating Pakistan by 114 runs (213-5 plays 99). They should have what it takes to get past South Africa in the semi-final, but unless India produce something beyond anything they have shown thus far in the tournament the women in green and gold will be waiting in the final, and England will need to be at their absolute best and probably have a bit of luck in addition to win that contest. England have been strong in all areas, with their least effective player of the tournament so far being the veteran Katherine Sciver-Brunt whose last ICC tournament this is.
Other than suffering a narrow defeat at England’s hands India did everything right in their group. They should also be buoyed by the recent success of their juniors in the Womens U19 T20 World Cup, the first world cup win by any Indian women’s team, and the upcoming Womens Premier League (female equivalent of the IPL) will act as a spur to ensure that they produce their best on the biggest stage, but they face a mighty obstacle in the semi-finals in the form of the Aussies.
The hosts left ir right to the last gasp to ensure their own qualification. They entered the last match of the group stage, against Bangladesh, needing a win (nothing else – net RR was not an issue) to qualify. South African teams have been known to fail to close out such deals, notably the South African men, who in the last men’s T20 World Cup were in the identical position against even less significant opposition, The Netherlands, and suffered a humiliating defeat and consequent early exit. SA were less impressive than their final winning margin of 10 wickets with 2.1 overs to spare suggests – Bangladesh batted poorly, and failed to capitalize on a number of opportunities they were given in the field. Although sometimes teams who only just sneak in at the last moment end up winning because they are the ones in form I don’t think even the most one-eyed of South Africa fans would dispute that they rank as fourth out of the teams to qualify for the semi-finals.
My usual sign off…