Women's World Cup Preview - England
England have endured disappointments at ICC global events in recent times - failing to make it out of the group stage in the 2010 ICC World T20 and narrowly losing out to Australia in the 2012 edition last October - but nevertheless enter this tournament as defending champions and narrow favourites.
They are the second most successful team in the history of the women’s world cup, behind Australia, winning the inaugural edition in 1973 as well as triumphing in 1993 and last time out. They have only once, in 2000, failed to make the semi-finals.
If anything, in recent times, their success has only grown. Thanks to the ECB, they were the first side to fully embrace professionalism - something which their success in 2009 was widely attributed to - and perhaps more than any team expect contributions from the whole squad rather than needing a select few star players to deliver in order to win.
They do of course have the big names in their squad, with captain Charlotte Edwards and young wicket-keeper Sarah Taylor among the most recognisable faces in the women’s game. Taylor has recently been linked to a stint with Sussex in men’s second XI cricket and, should she stand-in for regular second-team gloveman Callum Jackson, will become the first women to play at that level in the men’s game. All-rounder Arran Brindle is another who has prospered alongside her male counterparts and scored the first century by a women in the ECB Premier League, for Louth CC in May 2011.
However, as mentioned earlier strength in depth is perhaps their hallmark. They have a strong fielding unit led by the athletic Lydia Greenway and a clutch of all-rounders - Danielle Wyatt, Danielle Hazell, Katherine Brunt, Arran Brindle, Jenny Gunn and Laura Marsh - any of whom is capable of turning a game on its head with ball or bat.
For a strong squad with a strong winning ethos, anything other than walking away with the World Cup will be regarded as a failure.
2012-13 Form (most recent match first): WWWLLWWW
11th July: beat India by 29 runs (D/L) at Wormsley
8th July: beat India by 3 wickets at Truro
5th July: beat India by 3 wickets at Taunton
4th July: lost to India by 14 runs at Taunton
1st July: lost to India by 5 wickets at Lord’s
5th March: beat New Zealand by 6 wickets in Lincoln
3rd March: beat New Zealand by 59 runs (D/L) in Lincoln
1st March: beat New Zealand by 5 wickets in Lincoln
Previous Tournament Performances
1973: Champions, beat Australia in the final by 92 runs
1978: Runners-up, lost to Australia in the final by 8 wickets
1982: Runners-up, lost to Australia in the final by 3 wickets
1988: Runners-up, lost to Australia in the final by 3 wickets
1993: Champions, beat New Zealand in the final by 67 runs
1997: Semi-Finalists, lost to New Zealand by 20 runs
2000: Finished fifth, failed to make the semi-finals after losing to South Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand
2005: Semi-Finalists, lost to Australia by 5 wickets after only narrowly qualifying
2009: Champions, lost only one match all tournament - to Australia - and beat New Zealand by four wickets in the final
1st February v Sri Lanka in Mumbai
3rd February v India in Mumbai
5th February v West Indies in Mumbai
Charlotte Edwards (captain, RHB/LB), Tammy Beaumont (RHB), Arran Brindle (RHB/RM), Katherine Brunt (RHB/RFM), Holly Colvin (RHB/SLA), Georgia Elwiss (RHB/ RMF), Lydia Greenway (LHB/OB), Jenny Gunn (RHB/RM), Danielle Hazell (RHB/OB), Amy Jones (RHB), Heather Knight (RHB/RM), Laura Marsh (RHB/OB), Anya Shrubsole (RHB/RM), Sarah Taylor (RHB/WK), Danielle Wyatt (RHB/OB)
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Group B: Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Super Six: West Indies, Australia 8 points, England 6 points, New Zealand 4 points, South Africa, Sri Lanka 2 points
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