Women's Cricket World Cup: An event of many firsts

The 2009 edition in Australia proved to be a watershed moment in the annals of women's cricket with the game's apex body - International Cricket Council (ICC) - organising the event for the first time.

Former England captain and now ICC Women's World Cup Ambassador Charlotte Edwards poses with the trophy.   -  Getty Images

As the Women's World Cup returns to England to end a 24-year hiatus from hosting the marquee event, we take a peek into the past editions of the World Cup to trace the highs, lows and the many firsts in women's cricket.

Rachael Heyhoe Flint... Pioneer of women's cricket...   -  Getty Images

 

England, 1973

Winner: England The first limited-overs Women's World Cup was played in 1973 in England, two years prior to the men's main event. Seven teams - England, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, an International XI and Young England - participated in the marquee event, played the others once in a round-robin format. England’s Enid Bakewell and Lynne Thomas raised the first centuries of the tournament, with the hosts lifting the title under the captaincy of Rachael Heyhoe-Flint.  

India, 1978

Winner: Australia India hosted the second edition of the Women's World Cup where only four teams participated - Australia, England and New Zealand - alongwith the home side. Australia, which remained undefeated throughout the tournament, went on to win its maiden title under skipper Margaret Jennings. 

New Zealand, 1982

Winner: Australia The third edition saw five teams taking part, including an International Women's XI. All teams played 12 matches each, with the top two teams - Australia and England - locking horns in the final. In a tight contest, the defending champion won by three wickets to successfully defend its title. 

Australia, 1988

Winner: Australia With two associate nations - Ireland and the Netherlands - taking part for the first time, it was once again a five-team tournament. The arch-rivals - England and Australia - continued their spirited show in the high stakes event to qualify for the finals. In the summit clash, the host sailed to an eight-wicket win, securing its third title. 

England, 1993

Winner: England The fifth edition returned to England, with a total of eight teams including Denmark and West Indies , playing for the silverware. India, which did not play the last tournament Down Under, returned to the championship as well. In the finals, New Zealand squared off against host England but failed to leave an impression, slumping to a 67-run defeat. Janette Brittin (England) became the first woman to score 1000 World Cup runs. 

India, 1997

Winner: Australia The World Cup, which returned to the sub-continent after nearly two decades, was an event of many firsts. A record 11 teams contested for the title with the matches being played for 50 overs for the first time. Australian Belinda Clark's 229 not out and England’s Charlotte Edwards's unbeaten 173 from this edition continue to remain the top two individual scores in women’s cricket history, while Pakistan's 27 all out in 82 balls, is still the smallest total in the women's game. In the final game at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Australia romped home against New Zealand by five wickets, winning its fourth world title.

New Zealand, 2000

Winner: New Zealand The seventh edition featuring eight teams was hosted by New Zealand and saw the host reviving the Trans-Tasman rivalry in the business end of the tournament. After successful outings in the group stage, Australia started as favourite on the day of the final but a concerted bowling effort from New Zealand meant the defending champion fell four runs short of the total, ceding the title to the Kiwis in a nail-biting finish. 

Australia celebrates after winning the title which ended India's most successful run in the World Cup in 2005.   -  Getty Images

 

South Africa, 2005

Winner: Australia The Women's World Cup arrived at the Rainbow nation, with the exact same format as the previous edition. However, it had a new finalist in India, which took on tournament favourite Australia in the decider. Chasing 216 to win its maiden world title, India folded for 117 reaffirming Australia's dominance in the global event. 

Charlotte Edwards lifts the World Cup trophy after her side clinched a thriller against New Zealand in 2009.   -  Getty Images

 

Australia, 2009

Winner: England The ninth edition in Australia proved to be a watershed moment in the annals of women's cricket with the game's apex body - International Cricket Council (ICC) - organising the event for the first time. the teams were split into two groups, with the top three teams from each group qualifying for the Super Sixes. While the host had a rare poor run in the tournament, losing to New Zealand in the opening match and India in a Super Six encounter, England didn't disappoint as it made its way to yet another final. Against New Zealand at North Sydney Oval, a solid batting performance propelled England to its third title. 

Defending Champions Australia celebrate after winning the title in 2013.
 

India, 2013

Winner: Australia  The tenth edition, played in India, was a 'great advertisement' for women's cricket. Although the host crashed out after losing against neighbour Sri Lanka, West Indies kept the excitement alive, winning all its Super Six matches to qualify for its maiden World Cup final. However, it was an Australian team which was brilliant in the night of the final as it trounced West Indies by 114 runs to clinch its sixth World Cup title.