It's happening a year later, but the 12th edition of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup is finally starting. Despite several challenges of the post-pandemic world, the ICC has managed to put together the event, as originally planned, in New Zealand. Since the last edition of the World Cup, which took place in England, the game has moved forward.
In fact, the 2017 edition itself set several new bowling and batting records. It also produced a high-quality display of cricket, topped off by a thrilling game at the home of cricket in the final, where England just about edged past India. As we head into another epic tournament, which is likely to set some more records, it is a good time to look back at how each team performed in the last cycle.
Matches- 33, Won- 31, Lost- 2
Australia are ranked No. 1 in the ODI ranking by a huge margin and rightly so. With 163 rating points, they are 40 ahead of any other side. They have had an incredible run since the 2017 edition, when they were knocked out in the semi-finals by India, despite being labeled as the favorites for most of that tournament. Since then, they have lost only two ODI matches, in a period which included 26 consecutive wins, the streak eventually being ended by India late last year. Needless to say, they were also champions of the ODI Championship. They have attached the ‘invincibles’ tag to themselves, which could well define the careers of the players involved.
Matches- 43, Won- 28, Lost- 10, Tied- 3, NR- 2
South Africa has gone from strength to strength since the last World Cup. Much like Australia, the Proteas had a heartbreaking semi-final exit in the 2017 edition. Their game against England went right down to the wire, but it was just the final hurdle which they couldn’t go past. However, 2022 could just be the year for them. In the last few years, they have become not just a team to challenge, but also a side which is causing upsets every now and then and developing a particular style of play. In this period, their major successes include a 4-1 series win in India, a 3-0 series win in New Zealand and a 4-1 series in the West Indies. They ended third in the ODI Championship, which is a significant improvement from their sixth-ranked finish in the previous cycle.
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Matches- 41, Won- 23, Lost- 17, NR- 1
England will be entering the 2022 edition of the World Cup as the defending champions and have done enough to be one of the favorites in this mega-event. They had their fairytale victory in the last edition and now it will be a huge task for them to defend their title. Since lifting the cup at Lord’s, only India and Australia have managed to give them a run for their money. While India won two series in their own backyard, England returned the favor when the Indians came back to England. They also lost five matches to Australia, but hey, who didn’t? In fact, apart from India, they are the only side which has managed to get a victory against Australia. England also finished second in the ODI Championship, just like the previous cycle.
Matches- 40, Won- 19, Lost- 21
India faced a heartbreaking defeat that afternoon at Lord’s. It was a case of so near yet so far. That finish, though, started a new revolution, where the biggest market of the cricketing world, India, paid much more attention to women’s cricket, potentially opening new avenues for the expansion of the game. However, the national side’s journey since that final has been top-turvy and a tale of two halves. Before the pandemic hit, India played 24 matches, winning 15 of them and losing nine. Since then, they have managed to win only four, while losing 12. To be fair, they have played some really strong teams in the second half. But in 2022, on paper, they have a good enough team to challenge the best sides.
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Matches- 40, Won- 16, Lost- 24
The hosts New Zealand will have their work cut out in their home World Cup. In 2017, they had a slightly disappointing campaign as they failed to qualify for the semi-finals. After that edition, their performance didn’t improve as such. Between 2018 and the beginning of 2022, they didn’t win a single series. They also finished sixth in the ODI Championship. However, ahead of the World Cup, they got a comprehensive 4-1 series win against India at home to provide evidence of how things could be coming together for the hosts.
Matches- 12, Won- 6, Lost- 6
Since the 2017 edition of the World Cup, Bangladesh have played only 12 matches, which includes a five-match series in 2018. They weren’t part of the ODI Championship, which meant they didn’t get to play the top sides on a regular basis during the five-year period. As a matter of fact, they didn’t play any international cricket for almost one and a half years. Once they returned, they beat Zimbabwe 3-0 in a series, which was enough for them to place themselves at fifth in the ODI rankings. That helped them to qualify for their first 50-overs World Cup once the Qualifiers were canceled.
Matches- 39, Won- 13, Lost- 22, Tied- 2, NR- 2
West Indies have always been a team which presents all kinds of surprises. In 2013, they made it to the final and then went on to win the 2016 T20 World Cup. But in the 2017 edition of the 50-overs World Cup, they finished sixth. Since then, they haven’t had the best of runs, winning two series against Pakistan and one against Sri Lanka. Apart from that, they lost the rest of the series and ended seventh in the ODI Championship, which saw them play the Qualifiers to book a place in the mega-event. In the end, it was their ODI ranking of seven which helped them get a ticket to New Zealand.
Matches- 34, Won- 11, Lost- 21, Tied- 1, NR- 1
After finishing last in the 2017 edition of the 50-overs World Cup, Pakistan have been a team on the rise. They have seen some improvements in the quality of their performances, while also developing a good core of players. Pakistan ended fifth in the ODI championship, which was a better outing than their previous campaign, where they had finished seventh. They also won a series each against West Indies and Sri Lanka during this period. At the 2022 edition, they have a good chance to cause some surprises.