The 2009 World Cup, held in Australia, witnessed the women's game move ever closer to professionalism, with the ICC taking over control of the event from the International Women’s Cricket Council.
In an effort to broaden the game’s appeal, the tournament was broadcast in over 200 countries and featured a qualifying tournament that gave teams such as Bermuda, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe the opportunity to make it to the big stage. Ultimately it was the usual eight that did make it, with South Africa and Pakistan qualifying alongside the big four, West Indies and Sri Lanka.
In a format that is identical to that for 2013, the teams were divided into two groups of four with the top three progressing to the Super Six stage. It was Pakistan who were the tournament’s early headline writers. They defied expectations to beat Sri Lanka and earn a place in the Super Sixes, where they would also beat the West Indies.
The remainder of the group stage would pass as expected, with New Zealand, Australia, England and India making it through alongside the West Indies, who won their crucial game against South Africa.
India surprised many by beating defending champions Australia in the first game of the Super Sixes and then again in the third-place play-off. However, it was New Zealand and England who made it through to the final, with England earning the bragging rights courtesy of their win over the White Ferns in the Super Six stage.
The final witnessed a relatively comfortable win by England as they won by four wickets with almost four overs to spare. Seam bowler Nicky Shaw was named player of the match after her four wickets restricted New Zealand to 166. England openers Sarah Taylor and Caroline Atkins then put on 74, with player of the tournament Claire Taylor making 21.
New Zealand did cause a few alarms as wickets fell quickly towards the end, but Shaw was there on 17 not out as the winning runs were hit.
As expected, the finalists provided most of the tournament’s star players, with leading run-scorer Claire Taylor named in the ICC's team of the tournament, with leading wicket-taker Laura Marsh also featuring alongside England colleagues Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor. Suzie Bates led the way for New Zealand, with captain Haidee Tiffen curiously omitted despite finishing as the second highest run-scorer.
England’s success in the tournament was largely attributed to the increasing professionalisation of their team. Many of their key players no longer had to find employment outside of cricket in order to earn a living as the ECB provided coaching roles which allowed them to concentrate more on cricket as a profession.
Since then, other countries have followed suit by contracting their key players, meaning that the standard of women’s cricket should keep on rising for some time to come.
© Cricket World 2013
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