Stats derived from ESPNcricinfo statsguru.
A record breaking Women’s World Cup, both on and off the field, marked 2017 as a landmark year for women’s ODI cricket, and 2018 looks set to be a year of equal if not greater importance in the progress of women’s T20I cricket.
The 2018 Women’s World T20 will be the first standalone women’s edition of the tournament, and the first Women’s World T20 to be televised in its entirety. Beyond the World T20, this year also saw a crucial step for the future development of the sport, in the expansion of T20 international status to all ICC member nations. That move bore fruit almost immediately, during the Women’s T20 Asia Cup, when Thailand recorded their first win vs Sri Lanka, at Kuala Lumpur on 9th June.
The 2018 Women’s World T20 isn’t the first edition of the tournament to take place in the nascent professional era of women’s cricket. Australia and England have been leading the way in something of a remuneration race since at least the 2013 World Cup (with Australia now quite firmly established as the Armstrong & Aldrin in this analogy to England’s Gagarin), and the 2016 World T20 took place shortly after the conclusion of the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League season.
The difference this time is that, with three seasons each of the WBBL and England’s Kia Super League now completed, and an increasing provision of international contracts among the competing nations, the 2018 tournament is the first in which the effects of that growing professionalism are likely to be fully reflected in the on-field game.
Another significant difference between this tournament and all previous editions is a change in the women’s international playing conditions, which came into effect after the 2017 World Cup. The number of fielders allowed outside the inner circle during non-powerplay overs has been reduced from five to four.
Whether this change was necessary in a sport that was already moving in the direction of increased power and boundary hitting is up for debate. What is clear though is that this, combined with increased professionalism, as well as generally better playing surfaces, has led to a notably more aggressive intent from batters.
Just as the 2017 Women’s World Cup shattered a host of batting records (and somewhat fewer bowling records), the game being played in the Caribbean over the next few weeks promises to be unlike anything seen at previous editions of the Women’s World T20.
While the unprecedented introduction of multiple new T20I teams is vital for the future sustainability of the game, statistically it has somewhat masked the transformation at the top level of women’s T20I cricket.
England’s new world record total apart, a glance at the overall women’s T20I stats doesn’t immediately suggest a revolution, whether in terms of run rate, or the cost of a wicket in runs or balls:
When the results are filtered to only include matches played between the ten established sides contesting the 2018 World T20 however, the scale of the change becomes clear:
The run rate (6.98 rpo) has never been higher, and in terms of runs scored, the cost of a wicket (22.53) is almost 20% higher than for any year in the previous decade.
South Africa’s record women’s T20I total of 205/1 vs the Netherlands at Potchefstroom in 2010, stood for seven and a half years, but has now been beaten four times in 2018. Australia were the first to break the record, in the final of the Indian tri-nation series in March, with 209/4 against England. South Africa were then on the receiving end of back-to-back world records on the same day at Taunotn in June. New Zealand posted 216/1 in the first match of the day, before England obliterated that record with 250/3 a few hours later. One of the new T20I sides, Namibia also pushed South Africa further down the all-time list with 210/5 in a lopsided contest vs Lesotho in August.
Unsurprisingly, the T20I tri-series in England in June/July which featured those two world records had the highest run-rate ever for a women’s T20I series or tournament. Seven of the top eight fastest scoring women’s T20I series have taken place since the 2017 World Cup.
Highest run rate for a women’s T20I series or tournament:
8.30 rpo ENG, NZ, SA Tri-nation series in England, Jun-Jul 2018
8.19 rpo IND, AUS, ENG Tri-nation series in India, Mar 2018
7.87 rpo Ashes T20I series in Australia, Nov 2017
7.68 rpo India in South Africa series, Feb 2018
7.66 rpo New Zealand in Australia series, Sep-Oct 2018
7.55 rpo India in Sri Lanka series, Sep 2018
7.48 rpo England in South Africa series, Feb 2016
7.28 rpo West Indies in New Zealand series, Mar 2018
Similarly, seven of the eight highest women’s T20I totals have been made in 2018. Among those was England’s 199/3 vs India at Mumbai, which broke the record for the highest women’s T20I chase, improving on a mark England had themselves achieved at Canberra during the Ashes series in November 2017.
Those two chases both featured hundreds from Danni Wyatt, who became England women’s first T20I centurion and the first, and so far only woman to make a century in a T20I chase. There have been six centuries in women’s T20Is since the 2017 World Cup, compared with a total of just three in the preceding thirteen years.
With the World T20 and WBBL04 still to come, 2018 has already seen a record eleven women’s T20 centuries at domestic and international level. Twenty-one of the fifty-one centuries recorded in women’s T20 cricket have been made since the start of 2017.
Women’s T20 centuries by year:
2010 – 3
2011 – 3
2012 – 6
2013 – 7
2014 – 3
2015 – 4
2016 – 4
2017 – 9
2018 – 12
In matches between the top ten sides in 2018, chasing sides have a 1.85 to 1 win/loss record. For years in which a significant number of matches have taken place, that is the 2nd best win/loss ratio for chasing sides in women’s T20Is, just behind the 1.9 to 1 achieved in 2015. The average winning 1st innings total in a women’s T20I, which had hovered around the 130s for the best part of a decade, has leapt to 166 in 2018.
Of the ten sides competing at the World T20, seven have made their highest total this year (England, New Zealand, Australia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh), and seven (England, India, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, Bangladesh and Pakistan) have made their record successful chases in 2018. Sixteen of the 31 women’s T20Is to feature an aggregate of 300+ runs have taken place since the 2017 World Cup. Having occurred at a rate of less than two a year for the past decade, 300+ match aggregates are now occurring in one of every four matches played between the ten top nations in 2018.
There have been fifteen successful chases of 150+ targets in women’s T20Is. Nine of those, including seven of the top eight, have occurred since the 2017 World Cup. In that time, Australia, England, India and New Zealand have each lost just once when chasing. The lowest first innings total successfully defended against any of those four sides since the 2017 World Cup is 152.
That there have been a record 247 women’s T20I sixes hit in 2018 is not much of a surprise, given there have been a record 112 matches played this year. However, an extraordinary 232 of those 247 sixes were hit in the 59 matches played between the ten sides contesting the World T20. The rate at which the professional/semi-professional nations are hitting sixes against each other (currently 1 six every 55 balls faced) has increased by over 20% in both of the last two years, and by at least 10% compared with the previous year in every year since 2014.
The 42 sixes hit in the series between South Africa and India in February, at the time (there have since been series featuring 27 and 24 sixes) more than doubled the previous record for a bilateral women’s T20I series. Batters cleared the ropes so often in that five-match series, that the number of sixes exceeded the totals for the 2009 (38 sixes in 15 matches) and 2012 (30 sixes in 15 matches) editions of the World T20.
All this suggests that compared with previous tournaments, the 2018 Women’s World T20 will not so much re-write the record books, as create an entirely new language. Most importantly, unlike previous tournaments, television viewers around the world will be able to see more than just the knock-out stages and a select few group games.
Comparison of previous World T20 stats with women’s T20I stats in 2018:
The only factor that might put any dent in the run rate, and boundary hitting, though not enough to stop records being broken, are the surfaces in the West Indies, or rather one in particular. Women’s T20I run rates in the Caribbean are historically among the lowest among the established nations, though the last two series in the West Indies have each broken the record for highest series run-rate in the region.
The stadium for Group A is unlikely to be an issue. Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia has played host to the highest totals in both women’s and men’s T20I cricket in the Caribbean, and tends to be one of the fastest scoring grounds in the West Indies. It’s only the more spin-friendly track at Providence, Guyana which might make scoring in Group B harder going.
In any case, differing surfaces arguably make for a more interesting competition, and how teams handle the transition from the grounds used in the group stage, to the playing surface at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua for the knock-out matches, adds an intriguing element to what is sure to be a spectacular tournament.
Preview part 2 – Group A
Preview part 3 – Group B
Women’s World T20 landmarks to look out for
Highest total: Australia 191/4 vs Ireland, Sylhet 2014
Lowest total: Bangladesh 58/9 vs England, Sylhet 2014
Highest target successfully chased: England 164 vs Australia, The Oval, 2009 semi-final
Highest individual score: Meg Lanning (AUS) 126 vs Ireland, Sylhet 2014
Best bowling figures: Sune Luus (SA) 5-8 vs IRE, Chepauk, 2016
Most runs at a single tournament: Meg Lanning (AUS) 257 in Bangladesh, 2014
Most wickets at a single tournament: Anya Shrubsole (ENG) 13 in Bangladesh, 2014
Most tournament 50+ scores: 18 in Bangladesh, 2014
Most tournament sixes: 57 in Bangladesh, 2014
Highest overall tournament run-rate: 6.26 rpo in the West Indies, 2010
Word T20 records (ESPNcricinfo)