Tournament review

ICC Women's World Twenty20, 2009

Sarah Potter

1. England, 2. New Zealand, 3= Australia and India


The England team poses with the ICC Women's World Twenty20 trophy, England v New Zealand, ICC Women's World Twenty20 final, Lord's, June 21, 2009
England underlined their dominance in the women's game © Getty Images
Enlarge

When Claire Taylor was revealed as one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year in 2009, most cricket writers felt the award was a momentous personal achievement without wider significance for the women's game. It would not, they agreed, alter perceptions or inspire schoolgirls to pick up a bat or ball. Taylor and the World Twenty20, though, was a pairing which changed all that - and a lot of correspondents' copy.

Mike Selvey of The Guardian, previously ambivalent towards women's cricket, gushed enlightenment after Taylor's perfectly paced run-chase with Beth Morgan as England beat Australia in the second semi-final at The Oval. He urged his readers to go and watch future matches, judge the play on merit (meaning don't compare women against men any more than you would in tennis, golf or cycling) and be prepared for conversion. Similar endorsements came fromMike Atherton in The Times and Nick Hoult in the Daily Telegraph. Heady stuff!

Except that was only half the story. The initial moment of genius had come from the ICC, not simply for going ahead with the inaugural women's event, but for running it alongside the men's version, with the semis and final played - and televised live - immediately before the men's equivalents.

With such varying standards in international women's cricket it was a risk, but not a shot in the dark; the best of the distaff side had successfully shared the men's stage at domestic and international level several times over the last few years. It was clever, too - and another reason for the initiative's success - to hold all the group matches in Taunton, where the less skilled sides were far away from the forensic attention devoted to the men's tournament.

Over six well-organised days, there was barely time to blink before the predictable elimination of West Indies, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, leaving the Big Four of women's cricket - New Zealand, India, Australia and England - to head off to the semi-finals in Nottingham and London. Those games produced the same finalists, New Zealand and England, as the World Cup in Sydney three months earlier, and ultimately the same champions, England.


Captains Charlotte Edwards and Aimee Watkins pose with the ICC Women's World Twenty20 trophy before the final, ICC Women's World Twenty20
The captains pose with the trophy ahead of the final © Getty Images
Enlarge

The cheering in the first week was more high-pitched than most cricket punters are used to, as the crowds were largely made up of enthusiastic schoolchildren. On the field, thanks partly to the excellent batting tracks at Somerset's ground (and, perhaps, the fielding-drill accident which gave England's spearhead bowler, Katherine Brunt, a black eye and forced her to miss the matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan), there were no outrageous embarrassments; Pakistan were dismissed by England for 60 in 16.5 overs, Sri Lanka made 69 against the same attack, but at least saw out their allotted overs.

While none of the minnows came close to causing an upset, there were unexpected flashes of flair; West Indies opener Deandra Dottin briefly rattled Australia with a 22-ball fifty, the fastest in women's Twenty20 internationals. The other unexpected high was the number of sixes: 22 in the 12 group games, five in the two semis, although there were none for the Lord's crowd to celebrate in the final.

The first semi-final between New Zealand and India at Trent Bridge was too one-sided to deliver the oscillating tension that can make the shortest format of the game so compelling, but Aimee Watkins's unbeaten 89 from 58 balls was a silky masterclass showcasing some of the best of women's cricket. Likewise, the lopsided final was counter-balanced by Brunt's match-winning brilliance - three for six off four overs - and, of course, a home win at HQ.

Truth is, all the necessary convincing and converting had been done at The Oval by Morgan and, most of all, by Taylor (unsurprisingly named the ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year in October). It not only showed the watching world why Wisden had picked her as one of its Five Cricketers of the Year, but made the Women's World Twenty20 an unqualified success, justifying the decision to run the tournaments in parallel again in the Caribbean inMay 2010. The players had been given a chance to prove their worth, and they grasped their chance with eager hands. And they even managed to romance a few gnarled old commentators along the way.

Match reports for

1st Match, Pool A: South Africa Women v West Indies Women at Taunton, Jun 11, 2009
Scorecard

2nd Match, Pool B: England Women v India Women at Taunton, Jun 11, 2009
Scorecard

3rd Match, Pool A: Australia Women v New Zealand Women at Taunton, Jun 12, 2009
Scorecard

4th Match, Pool B: Pakistan Women v Sri Lanka Women at Taunton, Jun 12, 2009
Scorecard

5th Match, Pool A: New Zealand Women v West Indies Women at Taunton, Jun 13, 2009
Scorecard

6th Match, Pool B: India Women v Pakistan Women at Taunton, Jun 13, 2009
Scorecard

7th Match, Pool A: Australia Women v West Indies Women at Taunton, Jun 14, 2009
Scorecard

8th Match, Pool B: England Women v Sri Lanka Women at Taunton, Jun 14, 2009
Scorecard

9th Match, Pool A: New Zealand Women v South Africa Women at Taunton, Jun 15, 2009
Scorecard

10th Match, Pool B: India Women v Sri Lanka Women at Taunton, Jun 15, 2009
Scorecard

11th Match, Pool A: Australia Women v South Africa Women at Taunton, Jun 16, 2009
Scorecard

12th Match, Pool B: England Women v Pakistan Women at Taunton, Jun 16, 2009
Scorecard

1st Semi-Final: India Women v New Zealand Women at Nottingham, Jun 18, 2009
Scorecard

2nd Semi-Final: England Women v Australia Women at The Oval, Jun 19, 2009
Scorecard

Final: England Women v New Zealand Women at Lord's, Jun 21, 2009
Scorecard

© John Wisden & Co.