The Women’s T20 World Cup begins in the West Indies next week, and there will be a number of stars on display in the Caribbean.
The ODI world champions, England, will likely be the team to beat, though the West Indies as T20 World Cup holders and hosts cannot be ruled out either.
In addition, the perennially talented squads of Australia and India are set to threaten the latter stages of the competitions, with dark horses New Zealand not to be trifled with either.
It’s set to be a blistering tournament, full of competitive matches.
Here are the players we’ll be watching out for:
Meg Lanning (Australia)
Australian captain Meg Lanning is a player to keep an eye on. Handy with the bat, the skipper averages an impressive 35 in T20 internationals, with a highest score of 126. She was also the first Aussie player – male or female – to reach 2000 runs in T20 internationals. Essentially, Lanning is a run machine.
Anya Shrubsole (England)
The hero of England’s 2017 ODI World Cup win, Shrubsole cemented her reputation as one of the premier seam bowlers in the world of cricket. Expect to see the Somerset star at the death, stifling run flow when it matters the most.
Mithali Raj (India)
Raj, like Lanning, is a seemingly bottomless source of runs. The Indian sensation has captivated fans around the world with her batting exploits, and beat Lanning to become the first cricketer anywhere in the world to score 2000 runs in T20 internationals. Raj averages an amazing 50 in T20Is, so you can strap in for a batting clinic any time she comes to the crease. She is a marvellous player.
Stafanie Taylor (West Indies)
The West Indies skipper scored more runs than anyone else at the 2016 World Cup, and was named player of the series as she hoisted the trophy. A powerful cricketer, Taylor can put a ball just about wherever she pleases – in the gap for a single, dissecting the fielders for four, or ten metres over some poor girl’s head for six. Fireworks are promised when she’s at the crease.
Suzie Bates (New Zealand)
The New Zealand veteran is capable of doing it all, really. Happy to take the ball to fill out some overs, Bates is also a danger to run the score up with the bat. A highest score of 124* is but a drop in the ocean of her career total of 2755 in T20 internationals, meaning Bates is the immediate danger in the Kiwi batting order.
Leigh Kasperek (New Zealand
Another Black Cap, Kasperek was the leading wicket taker in the 2016 tournament. Not only is the off-spinner capable of destroying a batting order, she is also a magnificent defensive bowler. Able to adapt to a field, the Edinburgh-born all-rounder has a bowling average of just 9.36 in T20 Internationals!
Heather Knight (England)
England captain, and needing to fill a rather large void left by the retirement of Charlotte Edwards. A young England squad will most likely lean on Knight for runs . She has one T20 international century to her name and will be keen to get another in the World Cup.
Deandra Dottin (West Indies)
The pace bowler turned in a magnificent performance at the 2016 World Cup, tying for the record of most wickets taken in the competition. Another hugely capable bowler at the conclusion of an innings, Dottin can heavily restrict a team’s progress. Accurate, quick, and devastating.