Women's Cricket World Cup

ICC Women's Cricket World Cup
AdministratorInternational Cricket Council
FormatODI
First tournamentEngland 1973
Number of teams(see list below)
Current champion England (4th title)
Most successful Australia (6 titles)
Most runsNew Zealand Debbie Hockley (1,501)
Most wicketsAustralia Lyn Fullston (39)
2017 Women's Cricket World Cup

The ICC Women's Cricket World Cup is the oldest and most prestigious international women's cricket tournament.

The Women's World Cup is currently organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Until 2005, when the two organisations merged, it was administered by a separate body, the International Women's Cricket Council (IWCC). The first World Cup was held in England in 1973, two years before the inaugural men's tournament. The event's early years were marked by funding difficulties, which meant several teams had to decline invitations to compete and caused gaps of up to six years between tournaments. However, since 2005 World Cups have been hosted at regular four-year intervals.

The eleven World Cups played to date have been held in five different countries, with India and England having hosted the event three times. The number of teams has been fixed at eight since the 2000 event, with the preceding tournament in 1997 having been contested by a record eleven teams, the most to date. Australia are the most successful team, having won six titles and failed to make the final on only three occasions. England (four titles) and New Zealand (one title) are the only other teams to have won the event, while India (twice) and the West Indies (once) have each reached the final without going on to win.

History

First World Cup

Women's international cricket was first played in 1934, when a party from England toured Australia and New Zealand. The first Test match was played on 28–31 December 1934, and was won by England.[1] The first Test against New Zealand followed early the following year. These three nations remained the only Test playing teams in women's cricket until 1960, when South Africa played a number of matches against England.[1] Limited overs cricket was first played by first-class teams in England in 1962.[2] Nine years later, the first international one day match was played in men's cricket, when England took on Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.[3]

Talks began in 1971 about holding a World Cup for women's cricket, led by Jack Hayward.[4] South Africa, under pressure from the world for their apartheid laws, were not invited to take part in the competition.[5] Both of the other two Test playing nations, Australia and New Zealand were invited. Hayward had previously organised tours of the West Indies by England women, and it was from this region that the other two competing nations were drawn; Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. To make up the numbers, England also fielded a "Young England" team, and an "International XI" was also included.[4] Five South Africans were invited to play for the International XI as a means of compensation for the team not being invited, but these invitations were later withdrawn.[5]

The inaugural tournament was held at a variety of venues across England in June and July 1973,[6] two years before the first men's Cricket World Cup was played.[7] The competition was played as a round-robin tournament, and the last scheduled match was England against Australia. Australia went into the game leading the table by a solitary point: they had won four matches and had one abandoned. England had also won four matches, but they had lost to New Zealand.[6][8] As a result, the match also served as a de facto final for the competition. England won the match, held at Edgbaston, Birmingham by 92 runs to win the tournament.[9]

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