ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020: England team preview

Deepak Panda

Runner-ups in the previous edition, England start as one of the title contenders with a well-balanced squad

The seventh edition of the women's T20 World Cup is set to begin in Australia on 21 February. The 10 teams - eight of whom earned direct qualification, with Bangladesh and Thailand getting through the qualifiers - comprise two groups of five each.

Defending champions Australia are grouped with India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Group A, while the runner-ups of the last edition England are slotted in Group B with South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan and Thailand.

Here we look at the England team, their strengths, weaknesses and players to watch out for:

Squad

Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Danielle Wyatt, Amy Ellen Jones, Lauren Winfield, Fran Wilson, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Mady Villiers, Natalie Sciver, Georgia Elwiss, Sarah Glenn, Anya Shrubsole, Sophie Ecclestone

Placed in a tough group along with West Indies, South Africa, Thailand and Pakistan, the 2018 runner-ups will have their task cut out when they begin their tournament against South Africa. Having a well-balanced side on paper, with a versatile bowling attack, the English team should make it to the semifinals if they play to their potential.

England did not perform up to the expectations in the recently concluded tri-series in Australia. However, they have always performed well when it comes to pressure situations and big matches, and hence cannot be written off.

The experience in the squad makes them a formidable side despite their recent indifferent form. Coached by former Australia international Lisa Keightly, the English team starts as one of the favorites for the World Cup.

Strengths

The English team has a bunch of all-rounders capable of winning games single-handedly. Moreover, seam bowling seems to be the strongest point for England with Sciver, Brunt, Shrubsole, Davies and Elwiss in the side.

Natalie Sciver

The bowling has a lot of variety and holds a balanced look. One of the favorites going into the tournament, England's balance and depth in the squad is their biggest strength.

Weaknesses

Despite having a formidable side on paper, England are a team that are not in great form. The recently concluded tri-series saw some glimpses of individual brilliance but they were far from impressive as a team.

Wicket-taking ability with the new ball has been their biggest weakness in recent times. The top order including Wyatt and Jones needs to step up and improve upon their performance in the tri-series.

Danielle Wyatt

Players to watch out for

Skipper Heather Knight is in great form going into the World Cup, as evident from the recently concluded tri-series in Australia. Knight's all-round abilities and the form she is in give England the edge they will be looking for.

Natalie Sciver holds the key with both the at and the ball, being England's death bowler and middle order batting mainstay.

The reliable Danielle Wyatt, despite not being in form, is one of the players to watch out for in the World Cup.

Tournament prediction

A semifinal spot should be a certainty for the English side, given the quality and experience they possess. If they play to their potential and do not succumb to pressure, then we might even see England lift their second World T20 title.