FAQs: Women's T20 World Cup

The captains of the competing teams at the Women's T20 World Cup: (front, L to R) Tippoch, Taylor, van Niekerk, Atapattu, Maroof; (back, L to R) Kaur, Devine, Lanning, Knight, Khatun AFP

Why is this Women's Twenty20 World Cup a big deal?
The popularity of women's cricket has seen a dramatic rise in the past three years. Buoyed by India reaching the final, the 2017 Women's 50-over World Cup had more than 180 million television viewers, according to the ICC. The next big tournament, the 2018 Women's T20 World Cup, had live coverage in more than 200 countries.

This edition is being hosted in Australia, where the Women's Big Bash League gets up to 300,000 television viewers for games, so the World Cup matches are expected to be well-attended and widely consumed on television.

What's changed about the tournament?
The Women's T20 World Cup has been around since 2009, but for the first five editions it was run parallel with the men's tournament. In 2018, for the first time, the tournament was held as a standalone event. This edition is also a standalone tournament.

Is this bigger than the Women's 50-over World Cup?
That's debatable, but in an effort to attract young audiences the ICC has focused on increasing the number of women's T20Is, making it the most commonly played format in the women's game. Until 2017, the most women's T20Is in a year featuring one of the top-eight teams was 55 in 2016 (a World-Cup year, meaning more T20Is naturally). In 2018, that number went up to 83 (another World-Cup year) and in 2019, it was at 48 despite there being no World Cup to boost numbers. By contrast, there have been just 86 women's ODIs played since 2017.

So when and where is the tournament?
The 2020 Women's Twenty20 World Cup starts on February 21 and ends with the final on March 8. The tournament is being hosted by Australia, with games to be played at the SCG, MCG, WACA, the Sydney Showground Stadium, the Manuka Oval in Canberra, and the Junction Oval in Melbourne. Both semi-finals will be at the SCG, and the final will be at the MCG.

How many teams are playing?
The tournament features ten teams: Australia, England, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, Bangladesh and, for the first time, Thailand. It's also the first time a Thailand team is playing any cricket World Cup.

What's the format?
The teams are divided into two groups of five. Each team plays every other in their group, and the two teams with the most points in each group go through to the semi-finals.

On which channel is the tournament being broadcast?
In India, you can watch the games on Star Sports' channels on television or on Hotstar on the web or mobile. In Australia, you can catch the action on Fox Sports on television or on Kayo Live Stream on digital. Sky Sports will broadcast the games in England and New Zealand. And, of course, you can follow all the live scores, ball-by-ball updates and news on ESPNcricinfo.

Who are the favourites?
Australia have won four of the six Women's T20 World Cups so far, including the most recent one, and are the clear favourites this time around as well. They have lost just two of 14 T20Is since the start of 2019. England and India are the next strongest sides, with New Zealand the dark horses.

What are some key dates to remember?
Australia play India on the opening day, February 21, and Australia play New Zealand on March 2 in the two marquee matches of Group A. India v New Zealand on February 27 could end up being a key encounter. In Group B, England v South Africa on February 23 and South Africa v West Indies on March 3 promise to be exciting games. You may also want to look out for first-timers Thailand's first game, on February 22 against West Indies. Both semi-finals are on March 5, and the final on March 8.