The International Cricket Council (ICC) have announced the revised schedule for the 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup, with the first match slated to be played in Tauranga on March 4. The final match of the grand event will be played at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on April 3 under lights.
The Women’s World Cup was originally to be played in New Zealand in 2021 but the lack of preparation time for all participating nations, caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, resulted in the ICC pushing the tournament by a year. With New Zealand controlling the outbreak better than any other nation and now a definitive bio-secure solution available, the Women's World Cup will see the light of the day on March 4 2022.
The 31-match tournament will be played across six cities - Auckland (Eden Park), Hamilton (Seddon Park), Tauranga (Bay Oval), Wellington (Basin Reserve), Christchurch (Hagley Oval), Dunedin (University Oval - with the semi-finals slated to be played at the Hagley Oval and Basin Reserve.
"The ICC has made a long-term commitment to elevating women's cricket as part of our strategy to grow and develop the global game," Manu Sawney, the ICC CEO, said in a statement.
"We are extremely proud of the significant progress we have made in increasing prize money for ICC events over the last few years, with the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022 in New Zealand having $NZD5.5 million dollars available in prize money, an increase of almost 60% on 2017 and more than 1000% compared to 2013."
While New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa and India have already qualified for the tournament, three remaining teams will have to pass the Qualification hurdle to ensure a place in the tournament. The ICC qualifying tournament will take place from June 26 to July 10, 2021 in Sri Lanka.
Last edition’s finalists India will play all seven matches under lights, keeping the Indian time zone in mind, while three of their seven games are scheduled to be played at Seddon Park. India will kick-start their campaign with a game against a Qualifying team on March 6(Sunday).
"We have all been through a very difficult year and are happy to be getting back at playing the game we all love. India has been doing very well at ICC tournaments in the past three or four years, whether you talk about the (ODI) World Cup or the recently concluded T20 World Cup, and if we manage to win the tournament in 2022, it will be a massive inspiration for the next generation of girls, as the fifty-over format, is considered the pinnacle for any cricketer. I can assure you the team and I are looking forward to it," Mithali Raj said at the announcement of the fixtures.