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Women’s Cricket World Cup 2005

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Guest Sport Column –

by Earl W. Robinson

Next Tuesday March 22, 2005, the eight Women’s Cricket World Cup will commence in South Africa at four different venues.

The participating teams will be the defending champion New Zealand, the losing finalist in 2000 Australia host South Africa, England the first ever winners, India, Ireland, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. {{more}}

History

In 1973 the first tournament was held in England two years earlier than the men’s version. Although, the West Indies did not have a team in the inaugural event, the region was represented by Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. England, the winner of that tournament defeated Australia by 92 runs in the finals at Edgbaston. Like their male counterparts in 1975, the Aussie women failed to overhaul a total of 279 runs, thus they were the losing finalists.

Australian skipper Miriam Knee should have had a quiet word with Ian Chappell before he led the Australian men against the West Indies at Lord’s two years later. His team lost by 17 runs in the first men’s final. Since that frist tournament in 1973, there have been six more competitions.

Australia won four times including a hat- trick in 1978, 1982, 1988, and 1997. England won another title in 1993 and New Zealand won the last held in New Zealand in 2000. For the record, Australia have reached the finals six times missing out only in 1993. England five times and New Zealand thrice. No doubt these three teams will be the favourites for this year’s extravaganza. History has shown their dominance over the thirty years.



West Indies

The West Indies, who will be making their third appearance must first aim to finish in the top six. If this is achieved, automatically they will book their passage for the ninth tournament; maybe not financially.

Captain Stephanie Power of Trinidad and Tobago will have her work cut-out from game one. At Harlequins, the Caribbean lasses will oppose defending champs New Zealand in their opening encounter.

Including in her fifteen Women Party are Envis Williams of Tobago and Verana Felicien – St. Lucia both of whom like her have had World Cup experience.

For Vincentians’ interest, also included are Cordel Jack from the village of Welcome and Juliana Nero who hails from Sandy Bay.

To her credit, Nero has 23 appearances in Limited Overs Internationals; she made her debut against Sri Lanka at Arnos Vale in March 2003. Her career best is 39 not out against the Netherlands at Haarlem (Holland) in 2003 during the International Women’s Cricket Council Trophy. Jack is yet to make her International appearance.

Dangerous Customer

Australia, the most feared team in the competition will be led by belligerent 34 year old Belinda Clark who holds the record for the highest individual score and the first and only double century for male or female in a one- day international.

A veteran of 22 World Cup matches, she hammered 229 not out against Denmark on December 16, 1997 in Bombay in the sixth competition. Albeit, she ended on the losing side in 2000, in her top score of 91 earned her the player of the finals award. In her only match against the West Indies she made 53 at Tunbridge Wells (England) in 1993.

Australia won that match by 8 wickets. West Indies coach Ann Browne and Captain Power witnessed Clark’s innings. They will know she’s a dangerous customer.

Improvement

On April 10 the curtains will come down on this year’s tournament. In all, 31 matches are scheduled as with the final to be played at Centurion. With wins against Denmark (twice) and Ireland (once) the West Indies must win against top – notched opponents to gain respect at this level. Overall, they have played eleven matches, won three and lost eight. Four of these are against the hard core teams, New Zealand (twice) and once against Australia and England.

There is definite room for improvement. At this time we all must wish them the best of fortune.

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