Inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup - Roadmap
Written By: Ritwika Dhar
Picture Courtesy: BCCI
The first-ever ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup is going to take place in South Africa in January 2023. It is scheduled between January 14 and January 29. The inaugural edition will take place in the T20 format. It differs from the Men's competition which is played in the 50 overs format, but the T20 format is a great way to involve more countries in the game who mostly play T20s and don't have a quality domestic structure like most of the developed cricketing nations have. For instance, Pakistan launched its inaugural women’s under-19 tournament in August comprising 6 teams. The pathway to Pakistan’s women’s senior team had till then been vague, with two senior-level tournaments and no under-19 domestic competition.
Originally, the tournament was scheduled to take place in January 2021, before being moved to December 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the World Cup was postponed for the 2nd time and was moved to January 2023 with the host nation being changed from Bangladesh to South Africa. This means that South Africa will be hosting back-to-back major ICC women's events - The Under-19 World Cup in January and the Women's T20 World Cup in February.
In June 2022, ICC confirmed the qualification process wherein the hosts, South Africa along with Australia, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, and Ireland qualified automatically for the tournament. The United States of America also qualified automatically as they were the only eligible ICC member in the Americas regional group that was able to meet the qualification standards for the World Cup. So, to determine the remaining 4 spots, a series of regional qualification tournaments took place around the globe.
Africa regional qualifier: Hosted by Botswana in September 2022 where 9 teams - Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda were divided into two groups. Rwanda and Tanzania locked horns in the final after defeating Uganda and Namibia in the semis respectively. Rwanda came out at the top being the champions, defeating Tanzania in the final by 6 wickets. The Rwandan women’s under-19 side became the 1st team to qualify for a cricket World Cup in any format.
Asian qualifier: Hosted by Malaysia in June 2022. It was in a round-robin league format where 6 teams - UAE, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia, and Qatar participated. UAE and Thailand were undefeated going to their final round-robin game and UAE eventually defeated Thailand by six wickets and qualified for the World Cup. This was the 1st time a UAE women’s side qualified for a World Cup.
East Asia-Pacific qualifier: Hosted by Indonesia where Indonesia and Papua New Guinea were the only participating teams from that region. So, it was a three-match series between them where the hosts won it by a 2-1 margin and qualified for the World Cup. Just like Rwanda, the Indonesian women’s under-19 side also became the first team to be representing Indonesia in a Cricket World Cup.
Europe Qualifier: Hosted by the Netherlands who were up against Scotland in a 3-match series. It was clinched by Scotland at the end by a margin of 3-0.
Group A: Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, United States of America
Group B: England, Pakistan, Rwanda, Zimbabwe
Group C: Indonesia, Ireland, New Zealand, West Indies
Group D: India, Scotland, South Africa, United Arab Emirates
SCHEDULE & FORMAT:
The competition format is - 16 teams divided into 4 groups. The top 3 from each group will qualify for the Super Six League stage (2 groups of 6 teams each). Qualifying teams from Group A will play against 2 of the qualifying teams from Group D, and qualifying teams from Group B will play against 2 of the qualifying teams of Group C. The top 2 sides from each of the two Super Six groups will progress to the semi-finals, with the final taking place on 29th January.
On October 18, England became the first team to announce the U19 World Cup squad.
England U19 T20 WC squad: Ellie Anderson, Hannah Baker, Josie Groves, Liberty Heap, Niamh Holland, Ryana MacDonald-Gay, Emma Marlow, Charis Pavely, Davina Perrin, Lizzie Scott, Grace Scrivens, Sophia Smale, Seren Smale, Alexa Stonehouse, Maddie Ward
England left out the 17-year-old left-arm pace all-rounder, Freya Kemp, and 18-year-old spin all-rounder, Alice Capsey for the tournament. We can assume that both the players are quite established in the senior team and almost surely going to be a part of the T20 World Cup next year in February which is going to be played just after the U19 World Cup finishes. The workload management could have also been a potential reason behind their exclusion.
Other squads will be updated as and when announced.