2017 ICC Women’s World Cup – Preview

For the second time this month, England plays host to a major ICC tournament – with the 11th staging of the Women’s World Cup roaring into life on Saturday, bringing together the top eight teams to do battle for the most important trophy in Women’s ODI cricket.

The month-long tournament of 31 matches will be played out at five county grounds around England, with Bristol, Taunton, Derby and Leicester staging the group stages and semi finals before the final is held at the home of cricket, Lord’s, on Sunday 23rd July. The eight teams will all play each other once in the round-robin group stage. The top four teams then progress to the semi-finals, with the winners of those two games meeting in the final on Sunday 23rd July.

Over the ten previous stagings of the Women’s World Cup, only three teams have won the tournament in its history – Australia claiming six titles, England three and the New Zealanders one, on home soil, in 2000.

Those three teams are the strong favourites again, alongside India, although if the other ICC tournament held in the UK this month has taught us anything it is that favourites can often falter and an outsider can land the prize against all odds!

From an individual player perspective, the following players will be looking to reach personal milestones throughout the tournament:

Ellyse Perry (Australia)

A dual football and cricket international, allrounder and superstar of the women’s game, Perry needs just 101 runs in the tournament to bring up 2000 ODI runs for Australia.

Alex Blackwell (Australia)

The Australian vice-captain has made 133 ODI appearances for her country. If Australia make it all the way to the final as expected, and Blackwell appears in all nine games, she will move ahead of former captain Karen Rolton as Australia’a all-time leading appearance-maker in ODIs.

Tammy Beaumont (England)

England batter Beaumont needs 182 runs to bring up 1000 in the 50-over format for her country.

Natalia Sciver (England)

Another England player looking to notch up 1000 runs for her country is Japan-born all-rounder Sciver, who currently has 837 career ODI runs and will be looking for 163 to make the mark.

Katherine Brunt (England)

The spearhead of England’s attack sits just three wickets behind her teammate Jenny Gunn as the host nation’s all-time leading ODI wicket taker, with 120 wickets to Gunn’s 123. They’ll be spurring each other on to do battle at the top of that tree.

Mithali Raj (India)

The tournament could see history made in the Women’s game, with India’s captain sitting on 5781 ODI runs, 211 behind the current world record run scorer in the 50 over format, England’s former captain Charlotte Edwards. With potentially nine games in which to overhaul Edwards, the chase is very much on.

Another 8 further runs will see Raj become the first woman to pass 6000 One-Day International runs.

Jhulan Goswana (India)

Seam bowler Goswana needs 15 wickets with the ball, and 73 runs with the bat to reach 200 wickets and 1000 runs respectively.

Suzie Bates (New Zealand)

The White Ferns’ captain needs just two more games to notch up 100 for her country.

Amy Satterthwaite (New Zealand)

New Zealand’s vice-captain will have her eye on two personal milestones as the group stage of the Women’s World Cup unfolds.

She currently has 2970 runs in the record books, needing just 30 more to reach 3000. Those runs have come in 95 appearances, so she’ll be celebrating her hundred during her fifth game of the tournament.

Javeira Khan (Pakistan)

Batsman Khan needs just 41 more runs to bring up 2000 in ODIS for Pakistan.

Sana Mir (Pakistan)

Spin bowler and Pakistani captain Sana Mir will reach 100 appearances for her country if she appears in five further games.

Mignon du Preez (South Africa)

The stakes are high for South Africa’s all-time leading run scorer and appearance maker, as she needs just one more game to bring up 100 for the Proteas.

Trisha Chetty (South Africa)

The Proteas’ wicketkeeper-batsman is the world=record holder for catches in women’s ODIs, with 91 grabs to her name. She’ll be looking for nine more to bring up a century.

Coincidentally, Chetty also needs nine appearances to bring up that hundred too – but South Africa will have to make it all the way to the final if she is to achieve that milestone in this tournament.

Shashikala Siriwardene (Sri Lanka)

if all-rounder Siriwardene appears in all seven of Sri Lanka’s round robin stage games, she will notch up 100 appearances for the Islanders.

Chamari Polgampola (Sri Lanka)

Chamari will be looking to hit 31 more runs to move from her current tally of 969 to 1000 for her country.

Stafanie Taylor (West Indies)

One of the likely stars of the Women’s World Cup, the West Indies’ Jamaican captain needs just two games to bring up 100 appearances in ODIs for the Caribbean federation.

She also needs 268 runs to bring up 4000 – which with an average of over 44 is not beyond the realms of possibility by any means.

Deandra Dottin (West Indies)

The Windies’ quick bowler also needs just two more appearance to bring up 100.

 

England v South Africa – T20I Series Preview

With England and South Africa both smarting from exiting the fifty-over ICC Champions Trophy prematurely earlier this month, they will be glad of the chance to move on to a new format and to put their disappointments behind them.

The sides play four Test matches later in the summer, but before that comes a full three-game T20 International series, with games scheduled to be played at The Rose Bowl, Southampton (Weds 21st June); Somerset’s County Ground in Taunton (Fri 23rd June); and Sophia Gardens in Cardiff (Sunday 25th June)

Neither side have played a T20 international since February, and both are resting several key men from their squads for these encounters. England are without first-choice players Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Jake Ball, while South Africa are resting a similar number of top players in their usual T20 captain Faf du Plessis as well as Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy and Kagiso Rabada.

There are potential international debuts (in any format) for no less than five players in England’s squad – batsmen Liam Livingstone (Lancashire) and Dawis Malan (Middlesex), spinner Mason Crane (Hampshire) and quick bowlers Tom Curran (Surrey) and Craig Overton (Somerset). For their part, South Africa could hand T20I caps to spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and quick bowler Dwaine Pretorius.

With so much change from their usual squads, it is probably somewhat irrelevant that England are currently ranked second in the world in the shortest format as compared to the Proteas sixth place, and the fact that England won the ODI series 2-1 in May will count for little either. But both teams will be looking to get back to winning ways.

Individually, the players to watch out for as they approach personal milestones are as follows:

Eoin Morgan

England’s white-ball skipper currently has 1,568 T20 International runs to his credit, which is enough to see him in 11th place in the world for runs scored in the format. Such is the tight nature of the race ahead of him that 123 runs in the series could see Morgan rocket up the ladder to sixth place in the world, passing Pakistanis Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaid Mailk (1620 and 1626 in 10th and 9th respectively); the Proteas’s rested JP Duminy in 8th on 1684; Aussie David Warner in 7th on 1687; and another Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal in 6th on 1691.

Jos Buttler

England’s wicketkeeper has 943 T20I runs, so another 57 will see him pass the 1000 milestone

Alex Hales

Opening batsman Hales is the only England player yet to score a t20I century – one more will see him join New Zealander Brendon McCullum and Universe Boss Chris Gayle as the only players in the world with two hundreds in the 20-over game.

Imran Tahir

The South Africa spinner is currently the world’s highest ranked T20I bowler. He has 54 T20 International wickets in his ledger already, putting him in joint 11th place in the world alongside Sohail Tanvir and Dwayne Bravo. Another 5 wickets will see him move into joint tenth place alongside compatriot Dale Steyn and Blackcap Nathan McCullum, while six will see him into joint ninth place with Afghanistani all-rounder Mohammad Nabi.

Imran is one of six bowlers to have taken three four-wicket hauls in T20s – another such performance would move him joint first in the world with Pakistanis Unmar Gul and Saeed Ajmal, who both have four four-fors.

Scotland v Zimbabwe – ODI Series Review

The biggest story to come from the recently completed One Day International series between Scotland and Zimbabwe was undoubtedly Scotland’s historic win in the first game – the first time they have beaten one of cricket’s Full Member nations in an official ODI.

Coming on the back of a recent hammering of a full-strength Sri Lanka in Kent in an unofficial ODI in May, the result represents a significant milestone for Scottish cricket, and points to a bright future for Kyle Coetzer’s men.

Scotland then lost the second game in the series heavily – as they had also done against Sri Lanka – with Graeme Cremer’s Zimbabweans bouncing back extremely well to level the series 1-1, and save some pride.

We previewed the series here – so let’s now take a look at some notable statistical milestones achieved:

Kyle Coetzer

Scotland’s captain is in tremendous form and racked up his fourth ODI century with his match-winning 109 in the first game. He scored 170 runs in the series overall – further extending his lead as Scotland’s highest ODI run scorer.

Con de Lange

Spinner de Lange took a mightily impressive 5 for 60 for the Scots in the opening game, destroying any chance Zimbabwe had of reaching their Duckworth Lewis reduced target. These are his best bowling figures for his country, and he becomes just the fifth Scottish bowler to take a five-for in an ODI.

Matt Cross

Scottish keeper-batsman Cross snaffled three catches in the series behind the stumps, taking him to a career tally of 50.

Graeme Cremer

Zimbabwe’s captain rallied his troops brilliantly for the second game, with his 5-for-29 leading his side to a series-equaling victory.

This was Cremer’s third five-for in ODIs for his country – he now has more Michelles than any other Zimbabwean bowler.

His six wickets in the series also took him to a career tally of 90. This has seen him move up two places in the all time wicket-takers list for his country, surpassing both Chris Mpofu’s 85 in seventh, and Guy Whittal’s 88 in sixth place. A pretty good day at the office all round for Mr Cremer!

Malcolm Waller

Waller’s belligerent 92 in the first game had the Scots quaking in their boots as he looked to lead an unlikely chase. He didn’t quite take the Zimbabweans to the win, but he did move past a career milestone of 1000 runs in the process, now sitting on 1056.

West Indies v Afghanistan – ODI Series Review

The West Indies and Afghanistan recently concluded their bilateral ODI series, with honours being shared 1-1 after the third and deciding game at the Darren Sammy stadium in Gros Islet was washed out by the St Lucia rains.

 

The series represented a strong comeback for the associate nation Afghanistan after they were soundly beaten 3-0 in the T20I series earlier in the month.

A few personal milestones of note:

Rashid Khan

The star of the series was undoubtedly the 18-year old whizzkid. His 7/18 in the first ODI now stands as the best bowling figures by an Associate bowler and the fourth best of all time by any bowler in the 3,890 ODIs played to date!

His 10 wickets in the two games played took him to 63 overall for his country, and already into third place in the overall Afghan wicket standings, shooting past Hamid Hassan’s 56.

 

Mohammad Nabi and Dawlat Zadran

Dawlat’s two wickets in the first ODI briefly drew him level with Mohammad Nabi as the Afghans’ all time leading wicket taker with both sitting on 84 wickets.

All rounder Nabi reasserted his lead at the top in the second game however, when Rovman Powell became his 85th victim.

Scotland v Zimbabwe – ODI Series June 2017

The joy of following international cricket for me is not limited to the glare of publicity, TV & radio coverage, and endless column inches that are lavished on countless matches between the leading ICC full members. I love watching the associates do battle too and, always a fan of the underdog, where there is a chance for an associate to give a full member a bloody nose or two, my interest piques even more!

This week is one such chance as Scotland take on Zimbabwe in a two-game ODI series at The Grange in Edinburgh, with matches scheduled for both Thursday 15th June and Saturday 17th June. It is a rare bilateral series for the Scots against a Test-playing nation, and they’ll be looking to cause something of an upset.

Scotland enter the series with their form very much mixed. Just under a month ago they stunned a full-strength Sri Lanka by hammering them by seven wickets in a practice match at Beckenham in Kent. Unfortunately for the Scots, the match did not carry official ODI status as the ground was not deemed up to ICC standards, but that doesn’t take away from the magnitude of the achievement.

Sadly, they followed up that win with a nine-wicket loss to the Lankans in the second game of the series, and earlier this week suffered a shock home defeat to Namibia – a team that doesn’t currently have ODI status. Can they recapture the form of that first game in Kent? If they can, then Zimbabwe have every reason to be nervous.

For their part, the Africans have not played an ODI since February, when they played another associate nation, Afghanistan, in a five game series in Harare, losing 4-1. They are using this series as a warm up to their tour of Sri Lanka later in the year, and will definitely be keen to get back to winning ways.

So, much to play for, but also keep a look out for the following personal milestones that players from both sides will be aiming for:

Scotland

Preston Mommsen

The former captain recently came out of international retirement and was back in the team that lost to Namibia earlier this week. He currently has 1101 ODI runs for the Scots, enough to hold down third place in the all-time scorers’ list for his country. He’ll be looking for 131 more to surpass former England/Scotland dual international Gavin Hamilton in second spot. The man who replaced Mommsen as captain, Kyle Coetzer, is in first place.

Josh Davey

Somerset spinner Davey is only available for the second game in the series, but he’ll be aiming for 4 wickets in that game to take him to 50 in the 50-over format.

Matt Cross

Keeper and opening batsman (and MCC Young Cricketer) Matt Cross has taken 47 catches in ODIs for Scotland, so just three more will notch up a half-century of grabs.

 

Zimbabwe

Chris Mpofu

Quick bowler Mpofu currently has 85 ODI wickets in his 76 appearances for Zimbabwe, a tally which sees him sit in seventh place in his country’s wicket takers list. Three more will see him overtake all-rounder Guy Whittall who took 88 wickets in his 147 games as part of Zimbabwe’s succesfull team of the late 1990s.

Graeme Cremer

Hot on the heels of both Chris and Guy is current skipper, spin bowler Graeme Cremer, who has 84 wickets in ODIs.

Malcolm Waller

Batsman Waller needs 36 runs to bring up 1000 in ODIs

ICC Champions Trophy – Who will qualify for the semi-finals?

Isn’t cricket wonderful? With all teams now having played two games each, and with one round of games in the group stage to go, all eight can still qualify for the semi-finals of cricket’s second-most prestigious one day international tournament!

Here are the qualification scenarios ahead of the final group games

Group A

The Group A table is currently looking like this:

Team Played Wins Points Net Run Rate
England 2 2 4 1.069
Australia 2 0 2 0.0
Bangladesh 2 0 1 -0.407
New Zealand 2 0 1 -1.74

England have an unassailable lead at the top of the table, regardless of their result against Australia at Edgbaston on Saturday.

The tie-breaker rules take into account number of wins first, and then Net Run Rate (NRR), and with England sitting on two wins and the only team that can catch them on points, Australia, having no wins, England cannot be overhauled. They will therefore play the runners up from Group B in the first semi-final at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on 14th June.

So all that remains in Group A is to decide which of the other three teams will qualify to join the hosts in the semis. Here’s how it might play out:

If England beat Australia (or there is a no-result in this game due to rain) AND there is a result in the other game between New Zealand and Bangladesh, then the winner of that other game will finish second and will go through to face the winners of Group B at Edgbaston on the 15th June.

(Note: if there is no result between England and Australia, the winner of NZ/Bangladesh and the Australians would both have 3 points, but Australia would have no wins, and would therefore be relegated to third on the tie-breaker)

If England beat Australia, but the NZ/Bangladesh game is a wash-out, all 3 of Australia, Bangladesh and New Zealand would have 2 points. The BlackCaps will finish bottom of the group, as their NRR is the lowest of the three, and it won’t change so they can’t overtake Bangladesh. It will then come down to NRR between Australia and Bangladesh as to who finishes second. If England beat Australia by a greater margin than they beat Bangladesh, then Bangladesh go through. If they win by a lesser margin than against the Tigers, then the Aussies will scrape through.

If Australia beat England, then Australia will qualify second on 4 points, and both NZ and Bangladesh will be eliminated regardless of the result in their game.

If both games are abandoned as no-results, then again Australia will qualify second, and the Tigers and Blackcaps will have to pack their bags.

Group B

The Group B table currently looks like this:

Team Played Wins Points Net Run Rate
India 2 1 2 1.272
South Africa 2 1 2 1.000
Sri Lanka 2 1 2 -0.879
Pakistan 2 1 2 -1.544

 

Conventional wisdom was that this group would be a walk in the park for two of the pre-tournament favourites, India and South Africa. Someone forgot to tell Sri Lanka and Pakistan that though, and after two stunning upset results in the last two days (here) and (here) the group is very much wide open.

Cats are very much amongst the pigeons at this stage, and one of the group’s “big two” is very likely going home early.

With India playing South Africa next, and Pakistan up against Sri Lanka, those two games effectively become quasi-quarterfinals, with the winners progressing to the semi-finals and the losers heading to Heathrow airport.

Of course, results on the field have only been one part of the story of this tournament, with the weather being the winner in two games so far. So what happens if either or both remaining Group B games also get abandoned as no-results? Let’s look at each scenario:

India v South Africa game has a result, but Sri Lanka v Pakistan is washed out

The winner of India v South Africa will go through as group winners on 4 points and face the Group A runner-up at Edgbaston on the 15th of June. The loser is eliminated.

Sri Lanka will have 3 points but qualify as runners-up due to their superior Net-Run-Rate over Pakistan, and will face Group A winner England in the semi-final at Cardiff on the 14th June. Pakistan will be eliminated.

India v South Africa is a no-result, but there is a winner between Sri Lanka and Pakistan

The winner of Sri Lanka v Pakistan will go through as group winners on 4 points and face the runner up of Group A at Edgbaston on the 15th June. Loser is eliminated.

India will qualify as runners-up on 3 points due to their superior Net-Run-Rate over South Africa, and will face Group A winner England in the semi-final at Cardiff on the 14th June. South Africa will be eliminated.

Both games are washed out as no-results

All four teams will end up on 3 points, with one win apiece, and the group positions will therefore be decided on Net-Run-Rate alone.

As per the table above, India will win the group and play the Group B runners up, and South Africa will finish second and face England in Cardiff for a place in the final.

This is the only scenario whereby both India and South Africa can qualify.

West Indies v Afghanistan- June 2017 ODI Series Preview

Fresh from their clean sweep in the Twenty20 International series held earlier this month in St Kitts & Nevis, (see review here) the West Indies now host Afghanistan for three One-Dayers at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Ground in Gros Islet, St Lucia.

Whilst the Windies are reigning T20 world champions, their ODI status is far less impressive – currently ranked 9th in the world. They therefore missed out on qualification for the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy in the UK. Afghanistan sit just one place behind in 10th, comfortably the highest ranking Associate nation.

An intriguing series awaits, and thanks to a great initiative from the rebranded West Indies national board, you can watch it live and for free on the Cricket West Indies website (here).

From an individual player perspective, keep an eye on the following as they approach personal milestones:

Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan)

Already Afghanistan’s leading run-scorer, wicket-taker, and appearance-maker in ODI cricket, all-rounder Mohammad Nabi needs just 98 runs in the series to become the first Afghani player to notch up 2000 runs in one day internationals.

Rahmat Shah (Afghanistan)

23-year old fellow all-rounder Rahmat Shah comes into the series in great form having scored an unbeaten century in Afghanistan’s most recent ODI against Ireland at their Greater Noida base in India in March.

He currently has 847 career runs from his 27 ODI appearances, requiring 153 to bring up his 1000.

Dawlat Zadran (Afghanistan)

Quick bowler Dawlat sits just two wickets behind Mohammad Nabi in second place in Afghanistan’s all-time ODI wicket-takers list, with 82 scalps to his name so far. It’s a shoot-out between the two of them for top spot!

Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)

The 18-year old wunderkind spin bowler has made a stratospheric start to his career, both with Afghanistan and with his IPL franchise, Sunrisers Hyderabad.

He has already taken 53 ODI wickets from his 26 appearances, and needs just four more to overtake Hamid Hassan’s 56 and move into third place in Afghanistan’s wicket takers list.

Keiran Powell (West Indies)

West Indies have selected a very inexperienced squad for this series, and remarkably with 883 runs to his name, Nevis-born opening batsman Powell is the leading ODI run scorer within it.

He’ll be looking for 117 more to bring up his 1000.

 

West Indies v Afghanistan T20I Series Review

Although they were made to fight a little harder in the final game tonight, World Champions the West Indies duly claimed a 3-0 clean sweep against Afghanistan in the T20I series held at Warner Park Oval in Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis.

From an individual player point of view, there were a couple of career milestones of note to come out of the series, both of which we foreshadowed in our series preview.

Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan)

As expected, all-rounder Nabi played in all three games, bringing his personal tally to 58 games played in the shortest format, and making himself Afghanistan’s joint highest appearance maker of all time, alongside absent wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad.

Samuel Badree (West Indies)

Spinner Badree picked up a solitary wicket in each game, taking his career T20I total to 50, and now sits just two wickets behind the West Indies’ leading wicket-taker in the format, Dwayne Bravo.

ICC Champions Trophy – Review of first round of matches.

The first round of matches in the Champions Trophy over in England are now in the record books, with each of the eight participating teams having played one game each.

The perfect time to have our first look back and see which players have notched up a personal milestone in the tournament so far.

Joe Root (England)

The England Test captain’s 133 not out in the comfortable Group A win against Bangladesh on Thursday was his highest score in 50-over internationals. This was Root’s tenth ODI century, moving him up to joint second place in England’s all time one-day century makers list, alongside current white-ball captain Eoin Morgan. Both are closing in on Marcus Trescothick’s England record of 12.

Ross Taylor (New Zealand)

When Ross took the field in Friday’s rain-ruined Group A match against Trans-Tasman rivals Australia, it was his 188th appearance for the Blackcaps in ODIs, enough to give him a share of eighth place in NZ’s all time appearance list with Scott Styris. He’ll likely claim that spot outright on Tuesday against England.

Kane Williamson (New Zealand)

The Blackcaps’ skipper scored a nice round 100 in the aborted game against Australia, his ninth ODI century, and moved his career total on to 4461 runs – bumping Chris Zinzan Harris out of New Zealand’s all-time top ten list in the process. He now sits just 22 behind Styris in ninth spot.

Josh Hazlewood (Australia)

Hazlewood’s mightily impressive 6 for 52 against New Zealand was his third five-wicket haul in ODIs, becoming only the seventh Australian to bag that many “Michelles”.

Hashim Amla (South Africa)

Hashim Amla’s 103 in his side’s 96-run Group B win against Sri Lanka on Saturday was his 25th ODI tonne for the Proteas, in just his 151st innings.

This century moved him alongside Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakarra in joint fifth place in the world.

Steven Finn called up by England.

With Chris Woakes ruled out of the rest of the Champions Trophy tournament with a side-strain, England today confirmed they have called up Middlesex fast bowler Steven Finn as his replacement in the squad.

Finny has played 69 ODIs for England, racking up 102 wickets in the process, enough for tenth place in England’s all time wicket takers list.

If he can notch up three more, he’ll overtake spinner Graeme Swann and move into ninth.

Eight wickets will move him one spot further up past Tim Bresnan into eighth, and if he can somehow get ten more he’ll nip past Paul Collingwood in seventh too!

Lots of incentive there for Watford’s finest if he can find himself a spot in the starting XI.