Women’s World Cup preview

The eleventh Women’s World Cup will get underway in the UK on Saturday with eight teams competing for the ICC’s oldest ODI trophy.

The tournament will see each team play each other once in the preliminary round with the top four teams on the table contesting semi-finals.

We take a look at each team’s chances of lifting the prize at the end of the month long showpiece.

Australia

The six time champions will start the tournament as firm favourites with a potent batting line-up led by skipper Meg Lanning who averages over fifty in ODIs.

Ellyse Perry is a match-winner with both bat and ball and one of a number of women at the tournament to have represented their country in multiple sports.

Australia top the rankings and have been in imperious form in the lead up to the tournament, they will be hard to stop but will also have to handle the expectation that comes with the tage of favovourites

Australia squad: Meg Lanning (captain), Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani and Amanda-Jade Wellington.

England

The hosts have won the tournament on the two previous occasions they hosted and will have been boosted by the return of wicketkeeper batsman Sarah Taylor who took a break from cricket to address issues with anxiety.

Skipper Heather Knight has made a good start to her captaincy after taking over from legendary former captain Charlotte Edwards and would love to emulate the formers efforts in 2009 when she led England to World Cup glory in Australia.

England were struck an injury blow days before their opening fixture with India when Lauren Winfield was ruled out of the first two games with a wrist injury.

The hosts will see anything short of reaching the semis as an abject failure but will be aiming to lift the trophy for a fourth time.

England squad: Heather Knight (captain), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Beth Langston, Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield and Danielle Wyatt.

India

Purnima Rau was sacked as coach in April after failing to achieve direct qualification for the World Cup in an unpopular move given India’s refusal to play a series against Pakistan played a big role in them having to compete in the qualifier.

Under new coach Tushar Arothe India won a quadrangular series in South Africa powered by excellent bowling from Jhulan Goswami and Ekta Bisht, set low scores few batsmen were allowed starring roles but Deepti Sharma looked in good touch.

While they haven’t been able to match Australia, England and New Zealand often, India will be looking for good results against South Africa, the West Indies and fellow Asians Pakistan and Sri Lanka in order to reach the final four.

India squad: Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Nuzhat Parween, Shikha Pandey, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma and Poonam Yadav

New Zealand

The White Ferns are a credible threat to tournament favourites Australia and England and were the third team to seal automatic qualification the big guns and ahead of the West Indies.

Captain Suzie Bates will lead from the front having enjoyed an excellent run of form over the last few seasons.

Bates represented New Zealand’s basketball team at the 2008 Olympics before switching her focus to cricket and was named player of the tournament in 2013.

Teenaged spinner Amelie Kerr will be the youngest player at the event aged just sixteen but she has already shown she can have an impact.

New Zealand possess a well balanced side that will be looking to challenge for the World title.

New Zealand squad: Suzie Bates (captain), Erin Bermingham, Sophie Devine, Maddie Green, Holly Huddleston, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Thamsyn Newton, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest, Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite and Lea Tahuhu

Pakistan

Sana Mir’s team will be looking to take inspiration from the men’s team’s display in the Champions Trophy and like their male counterparts will start the tournament as rank outsiders.

Pakistan are yet to reach the semi-finals of an ICC event in Women’s cricket and will need to hit the ground running when they face South Africa in their opening game.

They suffered a loss to fellow strugglers Sri Lanka in the qualifying tournament and like Sarfraz Ahmed’s charges have already been written off by most pundits

Pakistan squad: Sana Mir (captain), Asmavia Iqbal, Ayesha Zafar, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Ghulam Fatima, Javeria Khan, Kainat Imtiaz, Marina Iqbal, Nahida Khan, Nain Abidi, Nashra Sandhu, Sadia Yousuf, Sidra Nawaz and Waheeda Akhtar

South Africa

Blessed with an abundance of allrounders South Africa have come a long way since the last world cup showing they can go toe-to-toe with the bigger nations.

They recorded a resounding victory over the West Indies in their final warm-up game having lost to Australia in their previous tune up with the bowlers earning the win by knocking the Windies over cheaply.

Marizanne Kapp comes into the tournament as the number one ranked bowler in the world and will be ably assisted by, player of the tournament in the qualifier, Sune Luus as well as Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, who picked up four West Indies scalps earlier this week and Shabnim Ismail.

Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt, who is just 18, have been in good nick with the willow in hand while skipper Dane van Niekerk contributes with both bat and ball.

A semi-final place would be huge for a team finding their feet in international cricket and if the team play to their potential they stand every chance of making the last four.

South Africa squad: Dane van Niekerk (captain), Trisha Chetty, Moseline Daniels, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Shabnim Ismail, Nadine de Klerk, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Raisibe Ntozhake, Mignon du Preez, Andrie Steyn, Chloe Tryon and Laura Wolfvaardt.

Sri Lanka

Like Pakistan Sri Lanka are expected to struggle against elite opposition as the lowest ranked team in the tournament.

A lack of cricket ahead of the tournament hasn’t helped their chances but their win over Pakistan in the qualifier will have done much for their confidence.

They were well beaten in both their warm up games but possess the ability to cause an upset or two if they are underestimated.

Sri Lanka squad: Inoka Ranaweera (captain), Chamari Athapaththu, Chandima Gunaratne, Nipuni Hansika, Ama Kanchana, Eshani Lokusooriya, Harshitha Madhavi, Dilani Manodara, Hasini Perera, Chamari Polgampala, Udeshika Prabodani, Oshadhi Ranasinghe, Shashikala Siriwardena, Prasadani Weerakodi and Sripali Weerakkody

West Indies

World Cup

Buoyed by their triumph in the World T20 last year and direct qualification for this tournament the West Indies possess some incredible talent and are the dark horse of this competition.

Skipper Stafanie Taylor is an incredible talent while Deandra Dottin is one of the most powerful hitters in the Women’s game and the first women to notch a T20 century.

They will need to shrug off the pasting they received in their final warm up game when they face mighty Australia in their opening match.

West Indies squad: Stafanie Taylor (captain), Merissa Aguilleira, Reniece Boyce, Shamilia Connell, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Qiana Joseph, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Shakera Selman and Felicia Walters.

Fixtures

Saturday, 24 June – England v India, Derbyshire

Saturday, 24 June – New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Bristol

Sunday, 25 June – Pakistan v South Africa, Leicester

Monday, 26 June – Australia v West Indies, Somerset

Tuesday, 27 June – England v Pakistan, Leicester

Wednesday, 28 June – South Africa v New Zealand, Derby

Thursday, 29 June – West Indies v India, Somerset

Thursday, 29 June – Sri Lanka v Australia, Bristol

Sunday, 2 July – England v Sri Lanka, Somerset

Sunday, 2 July – Australia v New Zealand, Bristol

Sunday, 2 July – India v Pakistan, Derbyshire

Sunday, 2 July – South Africa v West Indies, Leicester.

Wednesday, 5 July – England v South Africa, Bristol

Wednesday, 5 July – Sri Lanka v India, Derby

Wednesday, 5 July – Pakistan v Australia, Leicester

Thursday, 6 July – New Zealand v West Indies, Somerset

Saturday, 8 July – New Zealand v Pakistan, Somerset

Saturday, 8 July – South Africa v India, Leicester

Sunday, 9 July – England v Australia, Bristol

Sunday, 9 July – West Indies v Sri Lanka, Derby

Tuesday, 11 July – West Indies v Pakistan, Leicester

Wednesday, 12 July – Sri Lanka v South Africa, Somerset.

*Wednesday, 12 July – Australia v India, Bristol

Wednesday, 12 July – England v New Zealand, Derby

Saturday, 15 July – South Africa v Australia, Somerset

Saturday, 15 July – England v West Indies, Bristol

Saturday, 15 July – India v New Zealand, Derby

Saturday, 15 July – Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Leicester

Tuesday, 18 July- Semi Final 1

Wednesday, 19 July- Semi Final 1 (Reserve Day)

Thursday, 20 July – Semi Final 2

Friday, 21 July- Semi Final 2 (Reserve Day)

Sunday, 23 July – Final

Monday, 24 July – Final (Reserve Day)