Tomorrow sees the start of the Women's WT tournament with the first games in Group A - Australia v New Zealand and South Africa v Pakistan (Ireland can watch on). On Monday Group B kicks off with England v West Indies and India v Sri Lanka (hosts Bangladesh play their first game on Wednesday).
I have said before that I think this could be the closest WWT20 competition yet. I stand by that and given the wicket at Sylhet (the Dutch men scored 193 in 13.5 overs) it will be the batsmen that dominate. There looked to be very little in the wicket for seamers or spinners alike. Pace off the ball is likely to be the order of the day, meaning that batsmen will have to put the pace on the ball for themselves. The stylish Meg Lanning, Sarah Taylor and Poonam Raut could enjoy themselves if they can get in, and Deandra Dottin, Jess Cameron, and Suzie Bates could be very dangerous. There are generally not many 50s in women's T20 cricket, but that could change at this tournament.
The start of the tournament also means the start of our first-ever Fantasy Cricket game. We have had a great response with more than 150 teams entered to date [still just time to gate a team in http://tinyurl.com/fantasywwt20]. It will be fun to keep an eye on how your own team gets on and the players who are the top point scorers in the tournament. It should be fun and we hope it creates a bit more interest in the tournament and the players. Follow the links at the top of this blog for league updates and Fantasy Highlights.
What is very disappointing is the lack of television and radio coverage of the tournament. There is nothing until the semi-finals, not even online streaming. Let's hope that this is the last women's world tournament with such poor coverage (although I do fear for the next WWT20 in India in 2016). Sharing the stage with the men merely means that the women's game is relegated to a bit of a sideshow. It deserves more than that.
To try and keep people in the loop I will be twittering updates on a dedicated WWT20 twitter feed - @2014WWT20 - throughout all the group games. I'm not in Bangladesh but I'll use all the twitter feeds I can find, plus cricinfo to provide some kind of running commentary on games. Follow this twitter account if you want very regular updates. I have set up this account to prevent too many tweets on my usual @wmnscricketblog twitter feed, where there will just be match results and highlights. Both feeds will carry links to blog reports and Fantasy League updates.
I really can't wait for it all to get going. Who will win? You have to say that the Aussies are probably favourites, but I would not be surprised if they did not even make the final. At least half the sides in this tournament have a realistic chance of winning it. That is great for women's cricket.