Captain Heather Knight Coach Mark Robinson WWT20 best Winner (2009)
It was the corresponding tournament of 2016 that inspired the Mark Robinson revolution, insisting on a fitter side after an unflattering exit. Sixteen months later Heather Knight held the World Cup aloft at Lord’s. Since then, England’s T20 form has trended upwards: they enter this campaign ranked third after accounting for New Zealand and South Africa in a summer tri-series and faring well against Australia in the format over the past 12 months.
Key player Nat Sciver. It was on the big stage of the home World Cup the Surrey captain announced herself. This time around, she is an integral senior player, built to inflict maximum damage.
Prediction Drawn in the softer of the groups, they have every chance.
Captain Dane van Niekerk Coach Hilton Moreeng WWT20 best Semi-final (2014)
They have never been better placed to bust open a tournament but have seldom displayed the necessary consistency – especially in T20. But on their day, they boast hitters and seamers to knock over anyone, led so well by Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp. This enigmatic affliction was captured on their 2018 tour of England, when they routed the hosts in their first game but won only one further match.
Key player Lizelle Lee. The 26-year-old left England with her reputation vastly enhanced – the opener hit an ODI ton then smashed another in the KSL final to win Surrey the title.
Prediction Must deny the hosts to clear the group.
Captain Chamari Atapattu Coach Harsha de Silva WWT20 best Group (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016)
The least fancied of the eight automatic qualifiers, Sri Lanka’s 2018 included the indignity of being bundled out of the Asia Cup by Thailand. They did defeat India in an ODI but it was a dead rubber. Their dreadful time continued in the T20s, losing those4-0. As a result of her useful contributions in the win over India, 17-year-old Kavisha Dilhari has been included in a squad that lacks matchwinners.
Key player Chamari Atapattu. For too long Sri Lanka’s fortunes have hinged on their captain, who struck an unbeaten 178 against Australia in last year’s World Cup.
Prediction Require an astonishing form reversal to go beyond the group stage.
Captain Stafanie Taylor Coach Henderson Springer WWT20 best Winner (2016)
Of the cast who shocked the world to claim this trophy in India, the main actors remain in place and this time around West Indies also enjoy home advantage. Yet for all this, their bid for consecutive titles is unlikely. Since pipping Australia in the 2016 final, they have sputtered – dreadful at the World Cup in 2017 and whitewashed by New Zealand in both white-ball formats earlier this year.
Key player Stafanie Taylor. The 2016 World T20 could not have gone any better for hard-hitting Taylor, who not only led her charges to the title but also picked up the player of the tournament gong.
Prediction Not this time, even if they do sneak into the final four.
Captain Salma Khatun Coach Anju Jain WWT20 best Group (2014, 2016)
What a ride 2018 has been. Thrashed by South Africa to begin, the expectation was they would limp into this competition at best. Instead they arrive in better shape than ever. This uptick was punctuated by a stunning Asia Cup, knocking over Pakistan then beating India twice – in the group stage and then the final, in a last-ball thriller – to win the trophy from nowhere. Next, the Tigers dominated World T20 qualification.
Key player Salma Khatun. Leading the way to these dozen wins in 2018 has been the skipper.
Prediction They will pull off one upset that will be remembered for years.
Captain Meg Lanning Coach Matthew Mott WWT20 best Winner (2010, 2012, 2014)
The hunted are now the hunters. Arriving at a major tournament without a trophy in their possession for the first since 2010 is all the incentive Meg Lanning’s side (now with the virtuoso No 3 back to full fitness) require after stumbling in the 2016 World T20 final then the 2017 World Cup semis. They produced blemish-free displays against New Zealand and Pakistan in October.
Key player Alyssa Healy. For a long time a player who had her doubters, Healy’s career has clicked with the feisty opener scoring five half-centuries in the last month.
Prediction Only one result will be acceptable for the top-ranked favourites.
Captain Harmanpreet Kaur Coach Ramesh Powar WWT20 best Semi-final (2009, 2010)
Recalling how close India came in the 2017 World Cup final belies how far they are off the mark in the shortest format. Since 2016 Mithali Raj has handed the armband to Harmanpreet Kaur in T20s, Jhulan Goswami has retired. This inexperience was highlighted when they were twice beaten by Bangladesh in the Asia Cup.
Key player Smriti Mandhana. The game’s brightest rising star, a graceful and powerful left-hander who followed a splendid home season by topping the Kia Super League runs list.
Prediction Hard to see them causing a serious threat.
Captain Amy Satterthwaite Coach Haidee Tiffen WWT20 best Runner-up (2009, 2010)
It’s now or never for this golden generation who have consistently underperformed at major tournaments. They enter this World T20 as the second-ranked team after a sketchy 2018. After dominating early, they were defeated by England before Australia whitewashed them in October. Even accounting for this dip, with a squad full of capable campaigners who have routinely dominated the KSL and Women’s Big Bash League, they have the necessary experience.
Key player Sophie Devine. Struck four ODI tons since taking the vice-captaincy. A consistent force in the T20 leagues, she remains the biggest hitter going.
Prediction Surely this time they find a way to be there when it matters.
Captain Javeria Khan Coach Mark Coles WWT20 best Group (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016)
Pakistan have stalled since the previous World T20, where they shocked rivals India. Hosting Australia in the lead-up, they were uncompetitive after an equally poor Asia Cup. This was not helped by the absence of the injured Bismah Maroof, who is back into the team but has not taken back the captaincy. Too much will fall on the shoulders of new leader Javeria Khan and veteran Nahida Khan.
Key player Sana Mir. The mainstay off-spinner keeps on keeping on, now ranked No 2 bowler in the world in ODIs.
Prediction Unlikely to have the depth to deliver an upset.
Captain Laura Delany Coach Aaron Hamilton WWT20 best Group (2014, 2016)
Ireland made headlines for the wrong reasons earlier this year as New Zealand piled on world records with the bat. When that was followed by a defeat to Bangladesh they were expected to struggle at the World T20 qualifier. However, thanks in no small part to the excellent contributions of 17-year-old No 3 Gaby Lewis, they bounced back to clinch the final berth.
Key player Kim Garth. A clever seamer and the only Irish woman to have featured in the WBBL.
Prediction More valuable experience to improve against the best.