In 1973, seven teams competed in the inaugural edition of the Women’s ODI Cricket World Cup. England emerged triumphant, beating Australia to take the title for the first-ever ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. The Women’s ODI Cricket World Cup is held every four years and has featured teams worldwide since its inception. In the most recent edition, held in 2017, England beat India to take the title for the third time in their history. The tournament has seen some of the best female cricketers in the world showcase their skills on the international stage.
Australia has been the dominant force in the Women’s ODI Cricket World Cup, having won seven titles since the inaugural edition in 1973. England has won the tournament four times and was most recently defeated by the Australians in the 2022 final. New Zealand’s victory at home in the 2000 edition is the only time the Australia-England duopoly has been broken. The Kiwis have been runners-up thrice (1993, 1997, and 2009).
The Indian Women’s Cricket Team has seen remarkable growth in recent years, with two runners-up positions at the ODI World Cup to their credit. Led by veteran players such as Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, and Harmanpreet Kaur, the Women in Blue have continued to inspire with their performances on the field.
The new-age Indian players like Smrithi Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, and Shafali Verma are taking Indian cricket to the next level. Team India gave a tough fight to the mighty Australians in the semi-finals of the 2023 T20 World Cup. However, an unlucky Harmanpreet Kaur’s run-out cost India a place in the finals. Players like Jemihad Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur played rock-solid knocks in the decisive clash.
Let’s have a look at the Greatest performances of the Women’s World Cup
Belinda Clark 229 Runs vs Denmark (1997 Women’s World Cup)
Source: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
Belinda Clark is a popular name in women’s cricket, having represented Australia in four World Cups and leading the team in three of them. She holds the record for the first (and only) double century in the Women’s World Cup to date and the first of the only two double centuries seen in Women’s ODI games.
Belinda Clark achieved her historic double century in the 1997 World Cup, scoring an unbeaten 229 off just 155 balls in an inning that featured 22 boundaries and a strike rate of 147.74. Her performance helped Australia set their highest-ever ODI total and secure a 363-run victory against Denmark.
The match between Australia and Denmark in the 1997 Women’s World Cup was one-sided, as Belinda Clark’s double century helped Australia set their highest-ever ODI total of 412 runs. Clark’s remarkable innings had 22 boundaries and a strike rate of 147.74.
Belinda Clark, while talking about her double century, said, “It was a special inning for me, and it stands out as one of my best performances in international cricket. I am proud that I was able to help Australia set their highest-ever ODI total and record an impressive win.”
Harmanpreet Kaur 171 vs Australia (2017 Women’s World Cup semi-final)
Creator: James Allan | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2022 Getty Images
Harmanpreet Kaur delivered a remarkable performance in the semi-final of the One Day International World Cup against Australia, scoring 171 runs off 115 balls. She hit 20 fours and seven sixes in her innings, giving India a major boost to make it to the finals for the second time. India made it to the final of the Women’s ODI World Cup for the second time after Harmanpreet Kaur’s heroics in the semi-final.
Unfortunately, they lost to England in the final, denying them their first-ever World Cup title. Nevertheless, the team’s performance in the World Cup has been a source of pride for the nation and has inspired many young female cricketers to strive for excellence.
Harmanpreet Kaur acknowledged her heroics against Australia and said, “I just wanted to go out there and play my natural game. I was disappointed that we didn’t win the final, but it was a great experience for the whole team to be in a World Cup final, and I’m proud of how we played.”
Meg Lanning 126* vs Ireland (2014 T20 World Cup)
Creator: Matthew Lewis | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2019 Getty Images
Team Australia, led by Meg Lanning’s highest-ever total in the Women’s T20 World Cup, put up an impressive 191 for 4 when they batted first. This proved too much for Ireland Women to handle, and they could only make 113 for 7, 79 runs behind the target. This inning occurred on March 23, 2014, in Sylhet, Bangladesh, during the 2014 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. This was a Group B match between Australia and Ireland.
Batting first, Australia scored an impressive total of 191/4 in 20 overs, with Meg Lanning top-scoring with 126 runs off just 65 balls. She hit 18 fours and four sixes in her knock, helping Australia to an imposing total. She was ably supported by Delissa Kimmince, who scored 35 off 34 balls. In reply, Ireland’s Women could never get going, and their innings ended at 113/7 in 20 overs. Australia skipper Meg Lanning was named Player of the Match for her brilliant knock.
After the match, Meg Lanning said: “It was a good day. I am thrilled to have been able to contribute to the team with a hundred. It was a great team effort, and I am very pleased to have gotten the job done.” She also added, “It was a great feeling. I just kept playing my natural game and backed myself, and it paid off in the end.”
Mithali Raj 91* vs New Zealand (semi-final of the 2005 World Cup)
Creator: Andy Jackson | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2022 Getty Images
Mithali Raj put in a remarkable performance in the semi-final of the 2005 Women’s World Cup, despite suffering from a knee injury. Her 91* off 104 was a crucial knock under pressure, helping India to victory over New Zealand and securing a place in the finals of the tournament.
Mithali Raj’s innings was a masterclass in composure and control. She played a range of shots all around the ground, mixing her strokeplay with some astute running between the wickets. Her 91* off 104 was a crucial knock under pressure, and India was successful in clinching a place in the final due to her heroics.
Mithali Raj, while talking about her performance in the semi-final, said, “I was just happy to contribute to India’s victory. It was a high-pressure situation, and I’m glad that I could keep my composure and play innings that helped us reach the World Cup final.”
Chamari Athapaththu 178* Runs vs Australia (2017 ODI World Cup)
Creator: RODGER BOSCH | Credit: AFP via Getty Images
In 2017, Sri Lanka’s Chamari Athapaththu scored 178* runs off 143 balls with 22 fours and six sixes against Australia in the Women’s World Cup, leading to the highest individual score of the tournament. Athapaththu’s incredible performance was even more impressive in light of Australian captain Meg Lanning’s own brilliant 152 not-out, which helped Australia secure an easy 8-wicket victory with 37 balls to spare. Despite her team’s loss, Athapaththu was awarded player of the match and cemented her place in the record books.
Athapaththu’s 178 runs set a new Sri Lankan record for the highest individual score at the Women’s World Cup and was the third-highest unbeaten score in the tournament after Ellyse Perry’s 213. It was also her highest individual T20I score, surpassing her previous record of 76.
Athapaththu described her record-breaking innings as an “unforgettable experience” and said it was “a great honor” to contribute to her team’s success. Despite the loss, she was proud of how her team performed and hoped their performance would help raise more awareness of women’s cricket in Sri Lanka. “This is an unforgettable experience for me. It is a great honor to contribute to my team’s success, and I am proud of the way we played today. I hope the performance will go a long way in raising awareness about women’s cricket in Sri Lanka,” – said Chamari Athapaththu.
Deandra Dottin 112* vs South Africa (2010 T20 World Cup)
Creator: Hagen Hopkins-ICC Copyright: 2022 ICC
Deandra Dottin racked up a historic performance in the 2010 ICC Women’s World T20 opening match at Basseterre, where she scored 112 runs in just 45 balls. Deandra Dottin entered the game when her team’s score was 52/4 in the 10th over and went on to make history with the first century scored by a woman in T20Is. Her blistering knock helped the Windies to an impressive 175/5, which they defended successfully against South Africa by 17 runs. The innings included an astonishing nine sixes, along with seven fours.
Deandra Dottin’s innings were a dominating display of power-hitting, and they won her many accolades. Her 112 runs are the highest individual score in an ICC Women’s World T20 match and the second-highest individual score by a woman in T20I cricket, after Meg Lanning’s 126* off just 65 balls against Ireland during the 2014 Women’s World T20. The nine sixes she hit during the match is still a record for the tournament. “It was all about the team. I wanted the Windies to win, and I’m glad we did. It was an exciting match, and I’m glad I could contribute!” said Deandra Dottin.