As expected, Australia easily won the recently concluded ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup held in New Zealand.
In the final against defending champions England, the Aussie women simply outclassed their perennial rivals to win the match by 71 runs.
The overall 8-team round robin tournament took too long at times. The group stage of 28 matches should have had 2 games per day more often to speed up the tournament and not clash with the start of the men’s Indian Premier League.
There were some headscratchers for me during the World Cup such as
- How did England reach the semis after such a dismal start?
- How did the West Indies perform so woefully after such a great start defeating England and New Zealand?
- How did Bangladesh lose to the West Indies?
- How did India not make the semis?
- How did South Africa lose so sheepishly to England in the semis after playing great cricket throughout?
- I was half way through watching the tournament on tv and thought where was Sri Lanka?
There was quite a few last over nail biting finishes with the India vs South Africa game the most dramatic.
England have been down under in Australia and New Zealand for 3 months that may have helped them recover from the poor start to make the semis & finals.
Australia was just so dominant and they have been so for quite some time.
Australia has such depth of talent that even their B and C teams would have made strong cases for the semis of this tournament. Their overall talent is just frightening.
Credit must go to Cricket Australia (CA) for the investment they have made to develop the game locally. The Australian 50-overs and T20 local major tournaments are very competitive.
Cricket Australia pay the best salaries in women’s cricket with the likes of skipper Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry earning close to $US80k for basics. Australia’s state-contracted women’s player earn upwards of AUS$40K (US$30K),
Cricket Australia (CA) investments has surely paid off for the long term. The structure has done a good job in preparing the younger players for the international stage.
CA and key stakeholders have also made great steps to fund the wellbeing support and gave $AU250k for players to bring their partners and dependents with them while they are playing away from home.
During the 2-year pandemic lockdown the women’s game in Australia still thrived. So too in England. Whereas in the West Indies there was next to no local cricket. Especially in Jamaica.
The biggest disappointment of the world cup though was the performance of host New Zealand.
West Indies making the finals was unexpected and fluky. Yet with the exception of Hayley Mathews the other top players in the team failed to deliver consistently.
Unless Mathews, Deandra Dottin and skipper Stefanie Taylor play well in the same game it was hard to see the West Indies winning on a consistent basis. Taylor was not her usual high standard. Dottin’s one-handed catch against England was just airborne crazy.
Cricket West Indies must protect Matthews who is superstar quality.
India annihilation of the West Indies in the group stage was just brutal. India gave the Aussies a game in the group stage. A major review must be going on by the Indian administrators on how their side failed to make the semis. Especially as half way through the tournament it was announced that a women’s Indian Premier League (IPL) will be launched in 2023. Timing!
But that was the nature of this World Cup. Apart from the Aussies to many of the teams were inconsistent or was it consistently competitive?
The Bangladeshi team has made good strides. They and Pakistani teams seem to have a bright future especially in their batting.
The South Africans played good cricket up to the semis. They had the team to compete with the Aussies, even without their star player and captain Dané van Niekerk, who missed the tournament through injury.
It is just absurd at how often both the South Africa women’s and men’s cricket teams have fallen at the semi-final stage of cricket world cup tournaments.
Australia’s Alyssa Healy was different class in the semi and finals. Despite her 2 superb centuries the bowling from both the West Indies and England was took to the ropes. The way Healy used the crease to dispatch boundaries over cover was a treat for batting coaches. Less said about the West Indies catching in the semis.
Meg Lanning had an easier job leading her team. But what was great about the Australian side was that they all made crucial contributions. Some of their top players were injured and missed the world cup but the newer players stepped in and performed admirably. Big fan of the leggy spinner Alana King.
Lanning is probably the best 50 over batter of all time. Yet she did not have be in top form for the Aussies to sweep the tournament. Her century against South Africa was special. All-rounder Perry did not have to be at her usual best in the bowling department.
The lack of overseas fans gave the tournament an empty feeling for most of the games. When such a tournament is held that far away it needs all the diverse fans it can get.
A special mention to England’s Nat Scivers who scored 2 brilliant centuries in her 2 matches against the Aussies.
Overall, a very good World Cup given the restrictions women’s cricket has faced over the past 2 years.
This was the 7th time the Australians were winning the world cup since its inception in 1973. England (4) and New Zealand (1) are the only other winners of the tournament and I was hoping for a South Africa victory this time round.
But the 2022 Australian cricket team have set a remarkable benchmark.