SYDNEY: Six players to watch when the women's Twenty20 World Cup begins on Friday:
- Meg Lanning (AUS) -
Known for her silky stroke play and cricketing brain, Australia captain Lanning is one of the game's greats.
She made her domestic debut aged 16 and has routinely smashed batting records, while winning praise for her innovative approach to captaincy.
Nicknamed "Megastar", Lanning has played 98 Twenty20 internationals, hitting more than 2,600 runs with a top score of 133 not out, and skippered Australia to the 2018 world title.
- Heather Knight (ENG) -
The England captain is hitting form with the bat at just the right time, stroking a career-best 78 against host Australia in the recent tri-nation series and then crucial consecutive boundaries under pressure to set up a pulsating Super Over win.
She also plundered 67 against India to end up as third highest run scorer in the series with 176 runs at an average of 44.00 behind India's Smriti Mandhana (216 at 43.20) and Australia's Beth Mooney (208 at 52.00).
- Suzie Bates (NZL) -
A multi-talented athlete, Bates represented New Zealand in basketball at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She has played at every World Cup and has scored a record 22 innings of fifty or more in Twenty20 internationals.
One of the game's power hitters, she was captain from 2011 until 2018 when she relinquished the role to Amy Satterthwaite.
Bates has played 115 Twenty20 internationals, smacking 3,195 runs and taking 49 wickets. She is ranked the world's leading batswoman in the shortest format.
- Shafali Verma (IND) -
The youngest woman to play Twenty20 cricket for India, the fearless 16-year-old has the potential to set the tournament alight.
An attacking top-order batter, she debuted in September and became the youngest Indian to score an international half-century in her fifth outing against the West Indies -- surpassing a 30-year-old record held by Sachin Tendulkar.
She recently slammed a 78-ball 124 against Australia A in Brisbane, smashing 19 fours and four sixes.
- Stafanie Taylor (WIS)
Acclaimed Jamaican-born Taylor is the West Indian captain and has been the mainstay at the top of the order since 2008, scoring nearly 3,000 runs in 100 Twenty20 internationals.
She also bowls dangerous off-spin and is renowned as an athletic fielder.
Taylor was the 2016 World Cup player of the tournament, and is the heart and soul of her team. If she fires with bat and ball, the West Indies have a real chance of reclaiming the title they won four years ago.
- Ellyse Perry (AUS) -
One of the world's best all-round sportswomen, Perry not only plays cricket for her country but has won 18 caps for the Australian football team, including the 2011 FIFA World Cup.
Now devoted entirely to cricket, she is one of Australia's pace spearheads, while also proving her credentials as a genuine all-rounder capable of turning any game.
She was the first Australian, male or female, to play 100 Twenty20 internationals....