The 2022 Women’s ODI World Cup has begun in New Zealand with Australia heading into the tournament as one of the favourites.
The Aussies will be aiming to win the ODI World Cup for a seventh time with their last triumph coming in 2013.
England won the last World Cup on home soil in 2017 while the current tournament was postponed for 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and the West Indies will take part in the World Cup with games being played at Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Tauranga, Dunedin and Christchurch, which will host the final at Hagley Park.
The 12th edition of the one-day international tournament features a round-robin style of matches with every team playing each other once, then the top four teams on the ladder will progress to the semi-finals on March 30 and 31 with the final being played on April 3.
After a nine-wicket defeat in a warm-up match against New Zealand, Australia coach Matthew Mott said his side can not afford to underestimate anyone in the tournament and described the loss as the ‘perfect tonic’ for his players.
“It was a little kick in the backside at the right time to just remind us that any team in this tournament on their day have got players that can stand up and hurt you,” Mott said.
On the eve of the tournament, the Aussies were dealt a huge blow when star all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner tested positive for COVID-19, with the result meaning she will miss the team’s first two games against England on March 5 and Pakistan on March 8.
Since the 2017 World Cup, the Australian side has only lost three times and went on an incredible world-record 26-match winning streak which only ended in September last year.
The Aussies warmed up for the tournament with a recent series win in the Women’s Ashes over reigning World Cup champions England.
Australian captain Meg Lanning puts her team’s success down to the depth of the squad and said young guns such as Tahlia McGrath and Darcie Brown, plus veterans Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy all contributed to the Ashes success.
“The biggest thing for us over the last few years is that we haven’t relied on one or two players, we’ve had some really good depth in our squad,” Lanning said.
“You need a number of different players at times to step up and the depth we’ve got is something we’re going to need at this World Cup.”