WWT20, Group B Overview: Semifinal Route Not-So-Easy For India in Group of Death
The Women's World T20 gets underway in the Caribbean from November 9 with ten of the best teams in the world taking part in the biennial event.
The teams have been divided into two groups - A & B - and will play a total of four games each. Two sides from each group will then qualify for the semi-finals which will be staged on November 22.
Group B comprises of Ireland, India, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan. Here Cricketnext takes a close look at the making of each team of the group and how they stand going into the marquee event.
Australia (T20I ranking: 1)
The Meg Lanning-led unit will undoubtedly enter the World T20 2018 as prime favourites to win the competition. They have won the trophy on three occasions - 2010, 2012 & 2014 - and reached the finals in 2016. In Lanning, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Nicole Bolton and Elyse Villani Australia pack one of the best batting lineups in the world with each one capable of tormenting oppositions single-handedly on their given day.
The bowling unit is as strong with Megahn Schutt, the No.1 bowler in T20Is, leading the way alongside Perry, Delissa Kimmince, Jess Jonassen and Georgia Wareham.
Perry will be the most vital cog in the Australian setup. The 28-year-old all-rounder is having the time of her life in 2018 churning out performances one after the other with both bat and ball. She boasts of batting average of 33 in 2018 with a strike-rate of 120 while with the ball she has picked up 11 wickets in as many games at an economy of 7.40. She was the leading run-scorer in this year's Women's Big Bash League amassing 552 runs in 16 outings at an average of 46. Her being in form will be crucial to Australia maintaining a balanced unit.
The form of Healy at the top of the order will also be critical. The hard-hitting opener has smashed four 50s in her last five T20Is and comes with supreme confidence. She will be incharge of getting the side to quick starts when the ball is new along with Mooney.
Australia have been on a roll in recent times and come into the tournament having won 9 of their last 10 T20Is. They started off the year by triumphing over India and England in a tri-nation series before winning against New Zealand and more recently Pakistan. In New Zealand, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, they will face a stiff challenge, but Australia should in all likelihood make it to the semi-finals.
Captain's corner: "You've got to be able to adapt pretty quickly and make sure that we're playing accordingly. But I think over the last year or so we've done that really well, so we feel like if the conditions are very different we'll be able to adjust. There's no doubt in my mind that this is going to be the most highly skilled and competitive ICC Women's World Cup T20 that we've seen, and it's going to be great to watch, so looking forward to being a part of it."
vs Pakistan: 9 November
vs Ireland: 11 November
vs New Zealand: 13 November
vs India: 17 November
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 (T20I ranking: 2)
The other favourites from the group, New Zealand ranked 2 in the World have been a top side for quite some time but haven't won big trophies. The Amy Satterthwaite-led unit though will want to change that bit of history.
New Zealand boast of some of the best talents in world cricket starting with Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine at the top, both of whom come into the World T20 in excellent form. Devine was eighth on the run-getters list in this year's Women's Super League smoking 269 runs in 11 outings striking at an imperious 146.99. With the ball as well she was as potent finishing the tournament as the second highest wicket-taker with 16 scalps in 11 games. Her partner Bates, the No. 1 batter in T20Is, has also been going great guns in the format and her experience of having played 104 T20Is is bound to come in handy. The last 12 months have been particularly good for Bates where she has cracked 632 runs in 17 T20Is scoring six half-centuries, and one century against South Africa at an average of 52.66.
Apart from the duo, New Zealand have plenty of batting firepower in the form of Satterthwaite and Katey Martin, while the bowling, led by Lea Tahuhu, Leigh Kasperek and Devine make for a formidable attack.
New Zealand come into the World T20 having lost five successive T20Is - two to England and three to Australia. While it might not be ideal preparation coming into a marquee event they will back themselves against India, Australia, Pakistan and Ireland to make it all the way through.
Captain's corner: "We haven't had probably as greatest as successes as we would like with West Indian conditions, so it's something for us we want to try and rectify in this tournament and look to I guess really improve on our performances. I think looking forward to this tournament we know we need to improve our consistency and probably the discipline with both the bat and the ball. In a tournament like this you know that you have to perform every single game when you're playing a different team each game."
vs India, Guyana: 9 November
vs Australia, Guyana: 14 November
vs Pakistan, Guyana: 16 November
vs Ireland, Guyana: 18 November
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 (T20I ranking: 5)
Drawn against the No. 1 and No. 2 side in the world in Australia and New Zealand, India have their task cut out as they look to win their maiden WT20 title.
They have the talent but will need to bring their A game to the fore against some of the best teams in the world to make it to the semi-finals and for that will have to fire in unison. Their opening game against New Zealand becomes all the more crucial because if they can make a winning start the rest of the matches become slightly easier.
India have a good mix of youth and experience in their lineup with Harmanpreet Kaur leading the side. Smriti Mandhana, who has been in imperious form in 2018 will lead the batting troops and hope to get the side off to a good start. The 22-year-old was in glorious touch easier this year during the Women's Super League where she smoked 421 runs in 10 games with two half-centuries and a hundred finishing as the highest run-scorer of the tournament. Although there has been a dip in form of late as was seen in the series against Sri Lanka recently, India will bank on their opener to provide them with good starts along with youngster Jemimah Rodrigues.
The ever-reliable Mithali Raj, Kaur, Deepti Sharma and Veda Krishnamurthy will form the crux of the batting unit and while the bowling department has been depleted with the retirement of Jhulan Goswami, the likes of Ekta Bisht, Deepti and Radha Yadav will look at this as an opportunity to step up and grab the headlines.
India come into the tournament having thumped Sri Lanka 4-0 in a five-match T20I series but their overall form in 2018 has been patchy. They lost the tri-series at home featuring England and Australia before coming up short against Bangladesh in the finals of the Asia Cup.
Captain's corner: "Last couple of months we did a lot of preparation, especially in our bowling department. Our coach worked hard a lot on our bowling unit. And we're really happy the way our team is progressing now and we're looking forward to do well. Right now we're working on our unit, and I think if we play as a unit we will definitely get a positive result."
vs New Zealand, Guyana: 9 November
vs Pakistan, Guyana: 11 November
vs Ireland, Guyana: 15 November
vs Australia, Guyana: 17 November
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 (T20I ranking: 7)
In Australia, India, New Zealand and Ireland, Pakistan have fierce competition and will have to put their best foot forward if they are to make a mark in this edition. The one good thing for them came right before the event when their star batter Bismah Maroof was declared fit after undergoing a sinus surgery and her experience will come in handy against some of the top sides in the world.
Pakistan's strength like always lies in their bowling attack. In Sana Mir, they have one of the best spinners in the business while left-armer Anam Amin and off-spinner Nida Dar along with the seamers Diana Baig and Aiman Anwer make for a potent attack. With the surfaces in the Caribbean likely to be slow and low, the bowlers will have to come into play in stifling the opposition batters.
The batting though is a spot of concern and the likes of captain Javeria Khan, Maroof and Nahida Khan will have to do the bulk of the scoring. Pakistan started off the year well by defeating Sri Lanka 2-1 in a three-match T20I series but failed to make it to the finals of the Asia Cup after losses to Sri Lanka and India. Post that they defeated Bangladesh in a three-match series but went down to Australia in Malaysia by a 3-0 margin recently.
vs Australia, Guyana: 10 November
vs India, Guyana: 11 November
vs Ireland, Guyana: 14 November
vs New Zealand, Guyana: 16 November
Captain's corner: "We have had some good series against Bangladesh and very good exposure against Australia. Even though we lost, we got an idea about where we are lacking, and we are planning to cut down on mistakes and take out the positives from those series."
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 (T20I ranking: 10)
Ireland finished runners-up at the Women's World T20 Qualifier held in the Netherlands earlier this year but currently placed 10th in T20Is will have their task cut out as they face higher-ranked oppositions in the tournament.
Led by Laura Delany, Ireland are featuring in their third World T20 event and have experienced hands in the form of Isobel Joyce, Cecelia Joyce, Amy Kenealy, Lucy O’Reilly, Clare Shillington and Mary Waldron, who were all in the side during the 2014 & 2016 editions. Shillington is Ireland's highest run-getter in the format and having played 52 T20Is to date remains the most important cog in their batting lineup.
There are a few youngsters in the side as well, the most prominent being 17-year-old middle-order batter Gaby Lewis, who has given a good account of herself in the 20 T20Is she has been a part of.
The bowling unit will circle around seamer Isobel, Ireland's highest wicket-taker and spinner Ciara Metcalfe. Lewis' leg-breaks will also come in handy on surfaces conducive to spinners while Ireland also boast of a potent pace attack in Kim Garth, O’Reilly and Delany. They have also included uncapped leg-spinner Celeste Raack, who has played most of her cricket for Tasmania in Australia.
Ireland's recent form has been some sort of mixed bag. They won each game in the group stages of the World T20 Qualifier before losing to Bangladesh in the final. They have in 2018, won five games and lost four out of nine T20Is. It is no secret that Ireland will have to play out of their skins to record a win in the World T20 event, something which they are yet to achieve in their last two events, but they have the talent and might on their day cause an upset or two.
vs Australia, Guyana: 11 November
vs Pakistan, Guyana: 13 November
vs India, Guyana: 15 November
vs New Zealand, Guyana: 17 November
Captain's corner: "Obviously the conditions are very different to what we experience at home. It's obviously quite hot here and quite heavy. We've put in some really good performances over the last 12 months. Going into this World Cup, we definitely have targets for ourselves, but I'm pretty confident if we go out and play the way that we can that we'll be incredibly happy with the way that this tournament will go. When you go to a World Cup, there's no easy group. I think it's going to be a tough game first up against Australia, but we definitely have our targets set on Pakistan, the second game for us, and I think that's a realistic target."
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.