The latest edition of the ICC World Cup T20 is just a few days away, and even before the start of the tournament, this edition has created a record, and it is special. All these years since 2009, the World Cup T20 usually was conducted along with the men’s cricket, but for the first time ever, this edition will be a stand-alone tournament. That shows the rising graph, a positive sign for the Women cricket.
Looking back at the first edition of the game, 2009 was held along with the Men’s T20 World Cup. The Semi-final and the final was a double-header and had telecast as well. Unlike the game now, the first edition had only eight teams, split into two groups with four teams in each group. The top-two qualified for the knockout stages of the game. In 2009, Australia and New Zealand dominated Group A while England and India qualified for the Semi-finals from the Group B.
New Zealand destroyed India in the semi-final whereas, Claire Taylor’s unbeaten 76 helped England to put on a mammoth chase of 164. Taylor ended a run short of the tournament topper Aimee Watkins. In the final, The hosts were too good for New Zealand as they rattled the visitors for just 85, thanks to Katherine Brunt’s 3/6. England scripted history by becoming the first team-men or women- to win an ICC T20 title at home.
The sixth edition is not the first time where West Indies is hosting the T20 tournament. Eight years back, In 2010, The World Cup was hosted by St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and Barbados. The then-defending champions England shocked everyone as they bowed out in the group stages of the tournament and the hosts, West Indies made it to the semifinal for the first time. And the other three teams- Australia, New Zealand, India- qualified for the semifinals for the second consecutive time. Both Australia and New Zealand demolished their opponents and reached the finals, remained unbeaten throughout the tournament.
The final went down to the wire with New Zealand needing four runs from the final delivery with Sophie Devine on strike. Though Sophie Devine smashed the delivery straight back at Perry as hard as she can, Perry ‘s reflexes saved the World Cup for Australia, and they lifted the title for the first time.
The highlights of the tournament definitely were Dottin’s hundred off just 38 deliveries; still, the fastest and the super-over happened for the first time in the World Cup between Australia and England which the Southern Stars won. The result didn’t change for the next two editions as Australia successfully defended their title twice.
Sri Lanka hosted the 2012 edition and India had one of the worst editions ever that included a defeat from the hands of their arch-rivals Pakistan for the first time in an ICC tournament. India ended winless at the bottom of the group whereas Australia, England topped the same group. In the other group, West Indies had an extraordinary run as they topped the table followed by New Zealand, but their run didn’t last long as they once again were defeated by the then-defending champions Australia. In the other semi-final, England thrashed the White Ferns to reach the final, a potential re-match of 2009 final. And yet again, it came down to a team needing a six off the last ball to beat Australia, but England fell just short, losing it by four runs.
Two years later, in 2014, Bangladesh hosted the tournament, and for the first time, there were ten teams instead of just eight. Ireland and Bangladesh made their debut in T20 World Cup through the ICC T20 Qualifiers.
2O14 saw Meg Lanning announcing herself with the bat, scoring 126 off 65 which is still the highest individual score in World Cup T20Is. Also, South Africa made it to the semi-final for the first time by eliminating New Zealand who was pre-tournament favourites. Once again, it was the clash between England and Australia, but this time, Australia won it convincingly to lift their third consecutive title.
Come 2016 in India. The tournament saw a lot of close matches, especially involving the West Indies. The team knocked the hosts India by just three runs to qualify for the semifinals. Also, the team earlier defeated England by just one wicket. The best part of the tournament was that the group matches were televised.
Once again, it was Australia-England-West Indies-New Zealand kind of tournament, but to everyone’s surprise, West Indies, playing their fourth straight semifinal finally found a way to reach the final as they defeated New Zealand in the semifinal, and in the final, they met the mighty Australians who were looking good for yet another title. But the West Indies proved too good for the Southern Stars and went on to win the fifth edition with ease making history. It was a double joy for the country as the West Indian U19 kids went on to win the title a few months back.
By winning the title, West Indies became the first time outside Australia, England, and New Zealand to win an ICC Women title since 1973. During the tournament, Anisa Mohammed became the only player to take 100 T20I wickets. Also, that was the last time we saw the veteran Charlotte Edwards-who holds the record for most runs scored in ICC Women’s World T20s- in England T20 jersey.
Now that tournament returns to the West Indies and can the hosts defend their title? Can Australia recreate the magic or will it be a new team this time? We will have to wait and watch.