Star women ready to show their met­tle at World Cup

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ZAAHIER ADAMS

THE Women’s World Cup has grown ex­po­nen­tially since its in­cep­tion in 1973 – two years prior to the in­au­gu­ral men’s event – with the win­ners’ prize money also sky­rock­et­ing to $2 mil­lion from $200 000 four years ago in In­dia.

How­ever, it is not just the cash on of­fer that has im­proved, but also the qual­ity of cricket and star players across all the teams on dis­play. We pro­file the big names to look out for over the com­ing weeks in Eng­land. Any crick­eter who’s dubbed the “The Megas­tar” comes with seriously street cred. And that’s ex­actly the re­spect Lan­ning is re­served in the world of women’s cricket.

The world’s No 1 bat­ter on the ICC ODI rank­ings table, Lan­ning has a well- earned rep­u­ta­tion for put­ting op­po­si­tion at­tacks to the sword. At only 25 years old, she is al­ready the first women in ODI his­tory to reg­is­ter 10 cen­turies.

Her strengths are the abil­ity to hit even good balls for four, while main­tain­ing a straight bat with­out re­sort­ing to agri­cul­tural slog-sweeps. Lan­ning has the ex­tra re­spon­si­bil­ity of lead­ing Aus­tralia’s de­fence of their World Cup ti­tle in this tour­na­ment, which could have an im­pact on her bat­ting.

How­ever, for Lan­ning it is all about fol­low­ing the pro­cesses and the re­sult will take care of it­self.

“You’re mo­ti­vated to do as well as you can, it might be a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge to what you’ve had be­fore and you want to de­liver as well as you can in that,” Lan­ning told www.ic­c­

“I’m in good form, I en­joy scor­ing runs, but it’s im­por­tant to take that for­ward into the com­pe­ti­tion. I don’t re­ally look at av­er­ages too much, it’s more about win­ning games and bat­ting in the top or­der gives me the chance to bat for a long time in 50-over cricket. Scor­ing 80s and hundreds is what you need to be do­ing.” Like their male coun­ter­parts at the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy ear­lier this month, the Proteas women’s team en­ter their World Cup with the lead­ing ODI bowler in the for­mat.

They will hope that Kapp has a better tour­na­ment than Kag­iso Rabada did – he claimed just one wicket in three matches. Kapp is, how­ever, a gen­uine all-rounder that con­trib­utes with the bat along with her seam bowl­ing.

In fact, her per­for­mance in both dis­ci­plines over the next few weeks will have a huge bear­ing on the Proteas’ pro­gres­sion at the World Cup.

The Port El­iz­a­beth star has good mem­o­ries of the last World Cup in In­dia, es­pe­cially South Africa’s first op­po­nents on Sun­day, af­ter stroking her maiden ODI cen­tury against Pak­istan in Cut­tack back in 2013. Her new-ball part­ner­ship with the “fastest bowler in the world” Shab­nim Ismail should also be one of the main fea­tures of this tour­na­ment. Ar­guably the most recog­nis­able player of the women’s cir­cuit, Perry is a block­bust­ing crick­eter with both bat and ball. Ini­tially, the spear­head of the Aus­tralian at­tack when she de­buted as a 17-year-old, Perry’s bat­ting has grown into her stronger suit with her con­tri­bu­tions in the mid­dle-or­der cru­cial to Aus­tralia’s over­all game plan.

Af­ter a frus­trat­ing sum­mer punc­tu­ated by a series of in­juries, Perry is ready and ful­ly­fit to take on the world again and will be look­ing to get that maiden ODI cen­tury over the com­ing weeks. This could be on the cards with Perry look­ing to ex­pand her game.

“There’s a few things I can in­tro­duce, in terms of the shots I play, the se­lec­tion of shots to balls and where I hit it, and at the same time just being con­scious of it as well and learn­ing ex­actly where and when is the right time to put the foot down and up the scor­ing rate if I need to,” Perry said.

A gen­uine com­peti­tor on the field, Perry showed her char­ac­ter in Aus­tralia’s last World Cup fi­nal in In­dia when in­jured she vir­tu­ally limped in to com­plete her spell to fin­ish with the in­cred­i­ble fig­ures of 3/19.

Like most bat­ters, Sat­terth­waite has thrived in the lat­ter stages of her ca­reer us­ing her all her ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge gained over a 10-year in­ter­na­tional ca­reer.

The past cou­ple of years, though, have been par­tic­u­larly fruit­ful for the 30-year-old from Can­ter­bury, with the south­paw hav­ing scored 853 runs in 15 ODI’s at an av­er­age of 85.30 in 2016.

She raised the bar even fur­ther in 2017 with a women’s world record of four cen­turies in a row (137 not out v Pak­istan; 115 not out v Pak­istan; 123 v Pak­istan and 102 not out v Aus­tralia) with all com­ing at strike-rate in ex­cess of a 100.

Nick­named “Branch” – a ref­er­ence to her height and lean frame – the White Ferns is all set to light up #WCWC17. Along with bat­ting stal­wart Mithali Raj, Goswami forms the heart and soul of In­dian women’s cricket.

The lanky pace bowler has been one of the fore­most pi­o­neers in en­sur­ing women’s cricket has earned its right­ful place as part of the sub­con­ti­nent coun­try’s cricket ob­ses­sion.

At 34 years old now – Goswami de­buted in 2002 when still a teenager – this along with Raj is likely to be her last crack at World Cup glory and what a fit­ting tri­umph it would be for one of the game’s premier players to exit with a win­ner’s medal.

An ex­pres­sive char­ac­ter, Goswami leaves ev­ery­thing out of the field for her team and will look to spur on her younger team­mates with her pas­sion-filled per­for­mances.

Goswami’s le­gacy is en­sured with her 185 wick­ets plac­ing the right-arm seamer right the top of the table of most wick­ets in ODI his­tory. The Windies are sweat­ing over the fit­ness of their cap­tain Tay­lor, who is suf­fer­ing from an­kle in­jury that kept her out of the warm-up game de­feat to South Africa mid-week.

Tay­lor is, of course, an in­te­gral part of the West Indies side, hav­ing led them to ICC World T20 glory last year in In­dia.

She is also the lead­ing ODI all-rounder on the ICC’S of­fi­cial table and will be ex­pected to lead from the front with both and ball. In true Caribbean style, the 26-year-old is ex­plo­sive bat­ter that hits the ball hard up­front, es­pe­cially in the pow­er­play overs.

STAR PER­FORM­ERS: Aus­tralia’s Meg Lan­ning, left, and South Africa’s Marizanne Kapp.

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