With all attention focused on gentlemen’s T20 tournament at Bangladesh, the simultaneous hosting of the women’s T20 World Cup by the same nation has gone literally unnoticed, except for formal news report in the media and limited telecast. The timing of the tournament proves that women’s cricket is not taken seriously by ICC’s member nations. With everyone watching men’s games, the time and inclination to follow women’s matches is certainly missing. Perhaps, the tournament could have generated spectator interest, if it were held at some other time. Though the women cricketers may not be aspiring for the same stardom that is enjoyed by their male counterparts, relegating them to the grade of “also played” is demeaning. No wonder the development of women’s cricket continues to suffer. Especially in Indian subcontinent, which boasts of four teams, no attempts are made by cricket management to lift the status or make the game attractive for those aspiring to take cricket as a career. In any case, Bangladesh deserves the credit of making the necessary arrangements and managing the logistics required for two tournaments during the same period.
In the ongoing T20 world cup for women, 27 matches have been planned between March 23, 2014 and April 06, 2014, and except for two semifinals and the final game at Mirpur, all other matches are being played at the recently renovated Sylhet Stadium, 263 kilometers from capital Dacca. The 10 participating teams have been divided in Groups A and B of 5 teams each. While the Group A includes; New-Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and Ireland, the Group B has England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh. After the league games, played until yesterday, March 28, New Zealand and West Indies are table toppers in their respective Groups with 6 points each. These two teams have won all their league matches so far and are strong contenders for semifinals.
In the inaugural match on March 23, New Zealand defeated Australia by 7 runs, after putting on 128/8 in 20 overs and bowling Australia out for 121 in 19.3 overs. In their next match on March 25, New Zealand had a more convincing 42 run-win over Ireland, after piling 171/3 in 20 and restricting Ireland to 129/6 in 20 overs. Their third victory over Pakistan on March 27 was even easier, when the Kiwis put on 167/3 and made life difficult for Pakistan women, who could only score 108/7 to lose by 59 runs. For Pakistan, it was the second successive defeat, after they lost by 44 runs to South Africa on March 23. Despite their loss to New Zealand, Australia have won the other two league games against South Africa and Ireland. They beat South Africa by 6 wickets on March 25 and followed this win by another on March 27. In that match Australia recorded tournament’s highest total of 191/4 against Ireland, helped by skipper Meg Lanning’s blistering 65-ball 126, studded with 18 fours and 4 sixes. Ireland could only respond with 113/7.
In Group B, while West Indies have won all three of their league matches, Sri Lanka and England have won two matches each. West Indies have scored a good win over England by 9 runs on March 24, after setting a victory target of 134, to which the England could respond with only 124/9 in 20 overs. In another match played on March 26, the West Indians defeated hosts Bangladesh by 36 runs, after putting on 115 and restricting Bangladesh to 79. On March 28, West Indies bowled out Sri Lanka for 84 runs and reached the victory target in 15 overs by losing only 2 wickets. Though the English women lost to the West Indies, they have won two games against India and Bangladesh. On March 26, England defeated India by 5 wickets and followed it up with a victory over Bangladesh by 79 runs on March 28. India have had a poor run in the tournament, losing both their league games. Before losing to England, they had lost to Sri Lanka by 22 runs on March 24.
The remaining league matches in both Groups will continue until April 1, 2014, after which there will be two matches on April 2 for WT20 2016 Qualification play-offs between the teams placed third in Group A and fourth in Group B and vice versa. On April 3, the first semifinal will be played between the top-ranked Group A team against second ranked Group B team at Mirpur. On the same day, two play offs games for 7th to 10th place will be held at Sylhet. The second semifinal will be played on April 4 and the tournament will come to an end with the Final on April 6 at Mirpur
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