Pakistan women to clash with India in T20 World Cup on Sunday

CAPE TOWN (AFP): Complete match schedule for 2023 Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa from February 10-26 (all times GMT):


A: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh

B: England, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Ireland

Note: Group winners and runners-up qualify for semi-finals


Feb 10

South Africa v Sri Lanka, Cape Town (1700)

Feb 11

West Indies v England (1300), Australia v New Zealand (1700), both Paarl

Feb 12

India v Pakistan (1300), Bangladesh v Sri Lanka (1700), both Cape Town

Feb 13

Ireland v England (1300), South Africa v New Zealand  (1700), both Paarl

Feb 14

Australia v Bangladesh, Gqeberha (1700)

Feb 15

West Indies v India (1300), Pakistan v Ireland (1700), both Cape Town

Feb 16

Sri Lanka v Australia, Gqeberha (1300)

Feb 17

New Zealand v Bangladesh (1300), West Indies v Ireland (1700), both Cape Town

Feb 18

England v India (1300), South Africa v Australia (1700), both Gqeberha

Feb 19

Pakistan v West Indies (1300), New Zealand v Sri Lanka (1700), both Paarl

Feb 20

India v Ireland, Gqeberha (1300)

Feb 21

England v Pakistan (1300), South Africa v Bangladesh (1700), both Cape Town

Feb 23

Semi-final (1st A v 2nd B), Cape Town (1300)

Feb 24, Friday

Semi-final (1st B v 2nd A), Cape Town (1300)

Feb 2

Final, Cape Town (1300)

Previous champions

2009: England

2010: Australia

2012: Australia

2014: Australia

2016: West Indies

2018: Australia

2020: Australia

Five to watch at World Cup

As the women’s T20 World Cup gets ready to start in South Africa on Friday, AFP Sport picks out five cricketers to watch.

– India: Shafali Verma –

At the end of January, Shafali Verma led India to victory in the Under-19 World Cup. Barely two weeks later, the 19-year-old batter is back in South Africa to help India in their bid to win the women’s T20.

As a child she disguised herself as a boy in order to play but after breaking into the senior women’s game, there has been no stopping her.

Youngest international, youngest to score 50 which she did against West Indies in her first series and the youngest to play in all three formats for India.

Her aggressive batting style has resulted in the nickname “Lady Sehwag”, after explosive Indian men’s opener Virender Sehwag, but it was seeing Sachin Tendulkar batting when she was just nine that inspired her to chase the game.

Ahead of the 2020 edition, when India were runners-up to Australia, Verma ranked as number one T20 batter in the world. She has now played 51 T20Is, racking up over 1200 runs at an impressive strike rate of 134.5.

– England: Alice Capsey –

If England are to unseat defending champions Australia they will need their 18-year-old all-rounder Alice Capsey to live up to and exceed her already remarkable progress.

First, though, they need her to be fit – she broke her collarbone during England’s tour of the West indies in December. But if she is firing on all cylinders the batting all-rounder will be crucial.

She made her international debut last summer and was England’s highest scorer at the Commonwealth Games. A two-time winner of The Hundred with Oval Invincibles, she has also starred for Melbourne Stars in the women’s Big Bash in Australia.

– Australia: Kim Garth –

Kim Garth was only 14 when she made her international debut in an ODI against New Zealand in 2010.

That, however, was in the green shirt of her native Ireland with whom she won 114 caps in total as well as being vice-captain.

She was named Ireland cricketer of the decade in 2021 but by then had decided to try for a pro career in Australia.

It worked. The 26-year-old all-rounder did well enough to qualify for her new country, making her debut in a T20 in Mumbai in December.

Defending champions Austrlalia have a side packed with big names so Garth’s opportunities may be limited but if she should get some time in the spotlight, expect her to make the most of it. One thing she will be glad, however, is that Ireland are in the other group.

– Pakistan: Nida Dar –

Amid the young guns, an old-stager in the shape of Pakistan’s 36-year-old off-spinner Nida Dar.

After making her international debut against Ireland in 2010, she has gone on to play 84 ODIs and over 100 T20Is.

She was named Pakistan’s player of the tournament at the 2018 T20 World Cup and featured again in 2020. She is now just five short of West Indies’ Anisa Mohammed’s record of 125 T20 wickets.

Her nickname “Lady Boom Boom” is a reminder that she is also a useful slugger with the bat.

– South Africa: Marizanne Kapp –

When Dane van Niekerk was cut from the squad there was a fear that her wife Marizanne Kapp might also step away.

But the 33-year-old stayed with the team which, realistically, is only likely to progress from a group that includes Australia and New Zealand, if she delivers.

Kapp has had her problems, not least four bouts of Covid, but she is a class all-rounder with a Test hundred under her belt as well as a lorryload of wickets.

She was South Africa’s standout performer in last year’s ODI World Cup with 203 runs and 12 wickets.

Australia the team to beat

Defending champions Australia have undergone significant changes in their squad but remain the team to beat in the Women’s T20 World Cup which starts in Cape Town on Friday.

Meg Lanning’s team slipped to a surprise loss to Ireland in a warm-up game on Wednesday but prior to that they had lost just once in 27 T20 internationals since March 2021.

That defeat came in a super over after a tied match against India last December — they won all the other four matches in the series.

“Our squad has gone through a period of change since the last World Cup but I think that is a positive,” said Lanning.

“We are constantly evolving and we have great flexibility in our team both with bat and ball.”

Seven of the team that beat India in front of a world record crowd of 86,174 in the 2020 final in Melbourne are in the squad in South Africa, including stars such as Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner and Megan Schutt.

If anything, Australia have been strengthened by the inclusion of Ellyse Perry, one of women cricket’s all-time greats, who was injured in the early stages of the 2020 tournament, while Tahlia McGrath has emerged as one of the game’s leading all-rounders.

They have also unearthed an exciting fast bowler in Darcie Brown, 19, and introduced former Ireland all-rounder Kim Garth.

From the cauldron of a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia will start the defence of their title in quieter surroundings when they meet New Zealand in Paarl on Saturday, where they are likely to have to contend with a slow pitch.

They will also be up against arch-rivals New Zealand, the only team to have beaten them since the 2020 World Cup, other than in a super over. The White Ferns’ two wins, though, were countered by four victories by Australia.

– Competing attractions –

Women’s cricket reached a high point in Australia in 2020 which is unlikely to be challenged in terms of crowd attendances in South Africa, where tickets for all matches remain available.

Advance sales for some matches have been promising, however, notably for the opening match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Newlands on Friday and the final at the same ground on February 26.

A distraction for many players will be the Women’s Premier League auction in India on February 13 which has the potential to take some players into a new stratosphere of earnings, while there will be disappointment for those who are not bought.

The World Cup will also battle for a television audience as it coincides with the closing stages of the hugely popular men’s SA20 franchise competition.

All the women’s matches are at the coastal venues of Cape Town, Paarl and Gqeberha, while the semi-finals and final of the SA20 are inland at Johannesburg and Centurion.

The SA20 final on Saturday will clash with a double-header in Paarl, where England meet West Indies ahead of the Australia-New Zealand match.

The 10 teams in the T20 World Cup are split into two sections of five teams, with the top two in each section qualifying for the semi-finals.

Hosts South Africa will have to be at their best to get beyond Group A, where they will almost certainly have to beat Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as well as either Australia or New Zealand to progress.

England will be favourites in Group B, which also includes India, West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland.