The International Cricket Council (ICC) launched the inaugural ICC U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup here on Wednesday, with one month to go until the first ball is bowled in the tournament.
The event which is a first of its kind in world cricket will take place from January 14 to 29, 2023 and will see the future stars of the women’s game compete in 41 matches played across four venues in Benoni and Potchefstroom in 16 days of competitive cricket.
The 16 teams in the fray include Indonesia and Rwanda, who will feature in an ICC World Cup for the first time ever. Eleven full member nations gained automatic entry in this historic edition: Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.
Scotland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States of America (USA) join Indonesia and Rwanda to take the remaining five slots, representing each of the ICC’s five regions.
The teams will be divided into groups of four. Australia are in group A along with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and USA while Group B features England, Pakistan, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. New Zealand, Ireland, Indonesia and the West Indies complete the group C, with India, Scotland, South Africa and the UAE featuring in Group D.
At the competition launch, former Proteas women’s cricketer and South African Olympic javelin silver medallist, Sunette Viljoen, was unveiled as the ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup Ambassador. She was joined by the Member of the Executive Council of Gauteng Sports, Arts & Culture, Morakane Mosupyoe.
The other notable guests included Cricket South Africa Board Member and LOC Chair, Muditambi Ravele, CSA CEO, Pholetsi Moseki, UNICEF South Africa Chief of Communications & Partnerships, Toby Fricker and South Africa women’s team players, Sinalo Jafta and Raisibe Ntozakhe.
“This is a watershed moment for women’s cricket in South Africa and for the game in our country. To host one ICC event in a year is cause for great celebration, but to claim two in such quick succession is beyond our wildest dreams,” Tournament Director Sivuyile Mqingwana said in an ICC media statement.
“We are excited to promote the women’s game in our region and look forward to hosting yet another world-class event on our shores. Today’s launch just added to the festive mood and excitement that has been growing in our organisation as we count down to the first match of this historic occasion on 14 January,” she added.
The semi-finals and final will take place at JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom on January 29, followed by the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Cape Town, Paarl and Gqeberha which begins on February 10, 2022. The two events will play an important role in leaving a lasting legacy to grow girls and women participation in South Africa.
“We are delighted to launch the first ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa. The women’s game is a strategic priority for the ICC, and we look forward to the showcasing of our sport’s future stars in the region of Africa, where cricket continues to grow in popularity,” said ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley.
“With the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup following quickly on the heels of this historic tournament, we eagerly anticipate the delivery of two key events that will play a vital role in the promotion of women’s cricket around the world, in this important time in the growth of our game around the world,” he added.