London: The International Cricket Council on Monday announced the schedule for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2018, to be held in the West Indies from 9 to 24 November.
The 10-team tournament, featuring three-time champions Australia, reigning ICC Women’s World Cup winners England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and defending champions the Windies, plus two qualifiers, will be played across three venues in the Caribbean.
The finalists of the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier in the Netherlands from 7 to 14 July will complete the line-up of the November tournament, which is the first stand-alone ICC Women’s World Twenty20 event. The teams participating in the qualifying event are Bangladesh, Ireland, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Thailand, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates.
All 23 matches of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2018 will be broadcast live to maintain the momentum and focus on women’s cricket, while the Decision Review System (DRS) will be used for the first time in any ICC World Twenty20 event, ensuring consistency in the use of technology in top world-level events.
Defending champions the Windies are in Group A along with England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and qualifier 1 from the Netherlands event, while Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and qQualifier 2 will be in Group B.
The event kicks off at the Guyana National Stadium, starting with India and New Zealand. In the second match, Australia will play Pakistan and the Windies round off the day playing Qualifier 1 under lights. This venue will also host matches between arch-rivals India and Pakistan on 11 November and trans-Transman adversaries Australia and New Zealand two days later.
The Darren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia will be the other venue for the group stage with the first match there pitting England against Sri Lanka on 10 November, while the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua will host both semifinals on 22 November and the final on 24 November.
"The West Indies is one of the great places in the world for sports, entertainment and culture. Cricket is the heartbeat of the West Indies and we want to showcase all these offerings during the tournament. It will be fast-paced, exciting and action-packed with lots of enjoyable moments. This is the Year of the Woman and the world’s top teams will be coming," said Jennifer Nero, ICC Women’s World T20 tournament director.
“I want to urge the fans to come out and see the best players in the modern game. Women's cricket is growing at a rapid rate as we saw from last year's ICC Women's World Cup in England, and teams are getting stronger. Here in the West Indies, we are committed to playing a major role in the continued growth and development of the sport. We want to invite the cricket world to be part of this exhilarating world-class event on and off the field,” he added.
Windies captain Stafanie Taylor said, “It is great to host the cricket world here in the West Indies. This is a great place to play cricket and we know our fans will enjoy every moment of the tournament. It’s extra special as our families and friends will get to see us playing on home soil in a huge international tournament. It is also wonderful to have the cricket world see what the game is like in the region, how we celebrate and enjoy ourselves, and feel the vibes, the music and the culture.”
“We won the last edition in India and that was an amazing feeling. We are now playing at home and it would be even better to win again, this time in front of our supporters at home. We know the grounds, the pitches and most importantly, we know what is required. We’re playing for the people of the West Indies and we want to win again for them,” he added.
“It’s the next big tournament on the horizon and we have a good chance to nail down our T20 game-plan and focus. The group is always looking forward to World Cups and this time around is no different. The World Cup last year did not go as well as we would have liked to, so we are very hungry to become world champions again. We know it is a very open competition and you need to be consistent and be brave with how you play but we are in a very good space to go down that path and see that when the time comes we are playing really good cricket," said Australia captain Meg Lanning.
England captain Heather Knight said, “We’re really excited about the World T20 in the Caribbean. It’s an amazing chance to become double world champions but we have a lot of hard work to do first. We showed in India in our tri-series that we’re capable of playing very good T20 cricket but we need to keep improving as a side and add more consistency to our game.”
“The announcement of the schedule marks the countdown to this big event and we are all really looking forward to playing in the West Indies. The ICC Women’s World Twenty20 will be a competitive tournament with some tough league matches early on and no team can take it easy at any stage. Naturally, expectations will be high from our team after our World Cup final appearance last year and we aim to be at our best during the tournament,” said India captain Harmanpreet Kaur.
New Zealand captain Suzie Bates said, “We always go to those tournaments thinking we can do really well. We have a really explosive lineup and in India (ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2016) I thought we played really good cricket but got beaten by the eventual winners Windies in the semis. Always, the goal for the side is to get to the semifinals and then making sure we can play our best cricket in the knockout stage.
“The ICC Women’s World Twenty20 is one of the top events that everyone waits for with anticipation. Last year’s World Cup and many other subsequent matches have shown a rise in standards of women’s cricket and I’m sure there will be a lot of good cricket played in the West Indies too. Our players are looking forward to the tournament with great anticipation and will give it our best shot as the league phase kicks off on 9 November,” said Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof.
South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk said, “We love playing in the West Indies. It’s quite special, you don’t see places like that. I’m really excited because we enjoy playing Twenty20 cricket. I think we have a very dynamic side. We have hitters, we have runners, we have variation in the bowling attack as well. We are a free-spirited team and we enjoy it because we can express ourselves.”
“Our emphasis will now be on the World Twenty20 as that is a huge ICC event in which every team wants to do well. Everyone understands the challenges of T20 cricket and I’m sure no team would like to take it easy at any stage of this challenging tournament. We will be aiming to do well in all departments of the game and come up with some striking performances,” said Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu.
(Content courtesy - ICC Media)