Cricket: ICC Women’s World Cup Preview

ICC Women’s World Cup, 50-overs 

New Zealand

March 4th – April 3rd

England’s triumph over India in the 2017 final at a packed out Lord’s will never be forgotten. It was glorious.

But can Heather Knight and co do it all again? They will have their work cut out, that’s for sure, given the strength of Australia.

Meg Lanning’s side have lost just one one-day international since October 2017.

They were on a world record 26-game winning streak until India beat them in Mackay last September. 

Since then, they got themselves back on the horse with a trio of Ashes ODI wins against England last month and are rated best priced 4/5 with PaddyPower, bet365 and betfair to win the World Cup for a seventh time.

They are my tip to win it, but the odds have shortened from evens over the weekend.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be too keen on taking them at odds on, but would at evens or better. It maybe worth keeping an eye out across the week to see if the odds get more favourable.

The format 

Eight teams, everybody plays each other once to determine the four semi-finalists. The final will be played at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

The four favoured sides to reach the semi-finals are Australia, New Zealand, England and India. 

England are confident of regaining title, who will shine for them?

One bet stands out for England. Kate Cross to be their top tournament wicket-taker at 6/1 with Betfair. 

The Lancashire seamer is preparing for her first World Cup campaign, and she is in the form of her life.

Betfair price her as the fifth favourite to win this market, behind Sophie Ecclestone – the 21/10 favourite – and Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole and Nat Sciver.

The recent stats, though, suggest something entirely different.  

Since the start of 2021, Cross has taken 22 wickets in 11 one-day internationals, including a five-for against India last summer. 

That is more than all of her aforementioned team-mates, and by some distance. 

Ecclestone has taken 18 wickets in 14 games over the last 14 months, Brunt 13 from eight, Sciver 11 from 13 and Shrubsole seven from eight. 

With this in mind, Cross seems very good value. If you want to go one step further, she is 50/1 at Betfair to be the top tournament wicket-taker.

Healy could be ready to peak at just the right time

Betfair have priced Alyssa Healy at both 7/2 to be Australia’s top run-scorer in the World Cup and 9/1 to be the tournament top run-scorer. They are both options I would be taking.

Healy is a six-time tournament winner – five T20 World Cups and one 50-over World Cup (2013).

While she has only been the leading run-scorer in one of those (2018 World T20), the 31-year-old wicketkeeper/opener looks to be coming into some form.

In her last four one-day games for Australia – three in the Ashes and a World Cup warm-up game at the weekend – she has posted scores of 27, 22, 42 and 20. 

If she can convert those starts into some big scores, which she should do against some of the lesser nations such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, then we could be in business.

The Aussies are certain to go deep in this tournament, giving her plenty of games. 

The favourite for these markets is her skipper Meg Lanning at 9/5 and 7/1, but she hasn’t looked anywhere near her best to me this winter, be it in the Big Bash or the Ashes.

Long-shot treble on top team run-scorers and wicket-takers

If you want a long-shot treble, look at Healy to be Australia’s top tournament run-scorer (7/2), Sophie Devine to be New Zealand’s (9/5) and Kate Cross to be England’s top wicket-taker (6/1).

With Betfair, that would bring you in 88/1.