Women's World Cup 2009 March 13, 2009

England and New Zealand emerge favourites

Australia, India, New Zealand, England, West Indies and Pakistan have made it to the Super Six of the women's World Cup. We look at how the teams fared in their group stage and where they stand going into the Super Six

Australia, India, New Zealand, England, West Indies and Pakistan have made it to the Super Six of the women's World Cup. We look at how the teams fared in their group stage and where they stand going into the Super Six.

England


Claire Taylor is the tournament's leading run scorer with 170 runs from three matches © Getty Images
 

They have surged in to the Super Six with wins from each of their three games and are clearly favourites for the trophy this time. Each of their victories has been convincing - by 100 runs against Sri Lanka, by nine wickets against India and by eight against Pakistan. Captain Charlotte Edwards will be delighted by how her players are performing as a unit. The top order is brimming with runs and each of the bowlers that has played more than one game has got at least one wicket, or in Laura Marsh's case, eight. It's a measure of England's dominance that they have given chances to 14 members of their squad, but only eight of those have so far been called upon to bat.

Best game: Though they bowled out Pakistan for 78, it was their match against India in which England were at their masterful best. After dismissing India for 169 - with the last six wickets falling for 61 - England chased down the target with more than 11 overs to spare. Claire Taylor, the tournament's leading scorer, hit an unbeaten 65-ball 69 while left-arm spinner Holly Colvin took 3 for 22.

What lies ahead: Two big games - against New Zealand and Australia - will be must-wins for England. New Zealand have also won all their group games and are much more familiar with Australian conditions; Australia struggled against New Zealand in a rain-hit game but have regrouped since then and won't be easy to overhaul.

Roadblocks: What will worry Edwards is that her bowlers failed to bowl out Sri Lanka - who scored 177 in 50 overs - and allowed Pakistan's inexperienced line-up to hang on for 39.5 overs in scoring 78.

India

They look the weakest of the top four sides after faliling to enter the Super Six as group leaders. They were thrashed by England and then collapsed against Sri Lanka in a match they eventually managed to win by 35 runs. The decision to field first against Pakistan - whom they bowled out for 58 before the openers chased the target in 10 overs - backfired when the batsmen, with hardly a hit-out in the park, crumbled against England and Sri Lanka. Mithali Raj was the only batsman who scored half-centuries in both the games. India is the only team among the top four to have just one batsman to have crossed the 100-run mark in the tournament so far.

Best game: Their clinical win against Pakistan where the team looked like an efficient well-oiled unit. But India could not take the momentum of that win to their next matches.

What lies ahead: On Saturday India will be on the back foot against Australia, having lost to them 5-0 in November. Their bowlers allowed the hosts to go past 200 three times in the series and could not bowl them out even once. They may fare better against New Zealand, whom they beat in the World Cup warm-ups.

Roadblocks: India continue to struggle for a settled opening stand and pushing Anjum Chopra up the order for the World Cup has not worked so far.

Australia

Favourites at the start of the tournament, Australia are also not leading their group. But the hosts have great depth in batting and attacking allrounders in Lisa Sthalekar and Shelley Nitschke. Karen Rolton, who is leading Australia into what is surely her final World Cup, will be keen to make up for the early setbacks. Watch out for them coming out guns blazing against India.

Best game: Australia notched up the tournament's second highest total - 258 for 4 - against South Africa in a match they won by 61 runs. Rolton fell four short of scoring what would have been her fourth World Cup hundred and added 82 at more than seven an over with Nitschke, who also starred with the ball - taking 3 for 43.

What lies ahead: An unsettled Indian side should be easy to beat in their first Super Six game but an on-the-roll England will be much tougher opposition.

Roadblocks: Australia struggled to bowl out the minnows - dismissing South Africa only in the final over and letting West Indies reach 164 for 7 in 50 overs. Their opening bowlers in the three matches - Emma Sampson, Rene Farrell, Ellyse Perry and Sarah Andrews - have hardly given them early breakthroughs.

New Zealand

Their tournament-opening win against Australia will have given New Zealand a major boost but their batting collapse against West Indies - where Aimee Mason top scored with 38 - will have jolted them out of any complacency that may have set in. Their batsmen have got runs under their belt but not consistently. Opener Kate Pulford has failed with the bat but made up for it with the ball - four wickets in two matches. Captain Haidee Tiffen scored a half-century against Australia but batted 57 balls for 16 against South Africa. Amy Sattherwaite has been the most consistent with 148 runs at 49.33 from the three matches.

Best game: They beat South Africa by 199 runs but the win against Australia would have been the most satisfactory. Tiffen's 57 took New Zealand to 205 after which Pulford and Sophie Devine reduced Australia to 98 for 5. When rain interrupted the game, Australia were behind the par score.

What lies ahead: The most-anticipated match will be the one between New Zealand and England - a possible dress rehearsal for the final. New Zealand should have an easier game against India, whose batsmen are lacking form.

Roadblocks: The top five batsmen have contributed just three half-century stands - one against South Africa. Tiffen said the plan was for one top-order batsman to stay through the innings but that is still to be executed successfully.

West Indies


Can West Indies beat India to make it to the top four? © Getty Images
 

They have been full of pluck so far and could displace India in the top four to seal their place in the next World Cup. After scraping to a two-wicket win against South Africa in their first match, West Indies surprised many by restricting New Zealand to 192 in their next. They also avoided being bowled out by Australia, largely owing to Debbie-Ann Lewis' 55-ball 19 and Kirbyina Alexander 22-ball 7.

Best game: Stafanie Taylor and Pamela Lavine gave New Zealand a scare by adding 61 for the second wicket to set up the platform for a chase of 193, before the offspinners Aimee Mason and Lucy Doolan pulled New Zealand back into the game with three wickets each.

What lies ahead: Their best chance of making to the top four would be with wins against Pakistan and India, while hoping that India lose to New Zealand and Australia.

Roadblocks: India's experience and desperation to avoid the embarrassment of having to qualify for the next World Cup will make it difficult for West Indies to realise their dream.

Pakistan

They have made it to the Super Six with an unexpected win over Sri Lanka and can't be realistically expected to go any further. But now that they are among the big girls, they can gain some useful experience ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup.

Best game: Their first win against Sri Lanka in 19 matches since 1998. Pakistan scored 161 for 7 and then bowled out Sri Lanka for 104 - with the last five wickets falling for 13 runs.

What lies ahead: Most likely defeats and a place in the qualifiers for the World Cup in 2013.

Roadblocks: What Pakistan need to target in their forthcoming matches are scores above 100 or batting for 50 overs.

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at Cricinfo