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Even contest expected In Women’s World Cup

  • ICC Women’s World Cup – Preview

With history set to be made and the joy of the ICC Champions Trophy still fresh in mind, excitement could barely be higher for the start of the 11th edition of the ICC Women’s World Cup.

And with eight teams locked together and vying for success on the world stage, the competition could hardly be tighter between captains desperate to get their hands on the trophy at Lord’s on 23 July.

But before that, there is lots of cricket to be played with all 31 matches being streamed live from Bristol, Derby, Leicester, Taunton and Lord’s, including 10 on television.

As current ICC Women’s World Cup holder and six-time champion, Australia enters the competition as favourite, but faces stiff competition.

With Meg Lanning at its helm, Australia boasts the only player to have 10 Women’s One-Day International centuries, while also being part of the successful side in India, four years ago.

“We’ve got pressure on ourselves to perform well, we hold ourselves to very high standards and we want to uphold them. The pressure is on us but it’s also on a lot of the teams around the competition,” she said.

West Indies also comes into the tournament with plenty of confidence having lifted the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 just last year, as part of a hat-trick that included the ICC World Twenty20 won by the men’s team and the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup taken home by its colts.

Captain Stafanie Taylor leads the side in this competition for the first time, with history behind her after becoming the only women’s player to reach ODI and T20I world No.1.

She said: “When it comes to 50 overs, it’s all about a different mindset. You have to be patient, it’s a longer format, and you do have time.”

India and host England get the competition underway in Derby, on Saturday, the same day New Zealand and Sri Lanka face off in Bristol.

England possesses an impressive record at a home ICC Women’s World Cup, winning the competition on both the previous occasions in 1973 and 1993, as well as in Sydney in 2009 with eyes on Heather Knight and her team, bidding for a fourth crown.

“It’s going to be a brilliant tournament,” said the captain. “The support we have had from the tournament, I think it’s going to be the most visible and supported Women’s World Cup we’ve had.”

However, with India eyeing up its first victory, the challenge won’t start off in easy fashion – particularly with the experience of Mithali Raj, the world’s second highest-capped batter behind Charlotte Edwards.

“Our first target will be to reach the semi-finals, but for that you need to be able to play good cricket throughout the tournament and have good momentum,” she said.

Alongside Australia and England, New Zealand will be embarking on its 11th World Cup in 2017, keen to lift its first 50-over trophy away from home, as Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite look to reach 100 caps.

Victorious in 2000, New Zealand finished second the last time it played in the competition in England, while the experienced side also has an ace up its sleeve in 16-year-old leg-spinner Amelia Kerr.

“To win 100 caps for your country is a big achievement at any time but to do it at a World Cup would be even more special,” said Satterthwaite.

One of four teams to progress via the World Cup Qualifier, the experience in Sri Lanka’s team could prove vital – with nine players aged 31 or over.

On the other end of the spectrum, South Africa has no players in that age bracket, with the honour of captaincy falling on 24-year-old Dane van Niekerk.

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