Few sports have experienced the kind of growth enjoyed by women’s cricket over the past decade – and the latest T20 World Cup demonstrates why that exponential increase in popularity is unlikely to slow anytime soon.
For the past two weeks, the most exciting talents in the global game have faced off in South Africa, and provided thrills, spills, and a truckload of skills to the thousands watching in the stadiums and an audience of millions following the tournament on television.
The women’s T20 World Cup trophy has been a common sight in South Africa since November, with the trophy having enjoyed a country-wide tour in the run-up to the opening match of the competition between the hosts and Sri Lanka. It has spread more than a little dash of inspiration everywhere throughout its journey with the trophy coming to symbolise the enormous strides taken by the sport since the inaugural tournament was held England back in 2009. Back then, the sport was still finding its feet.
Now the emergence of global stars such as Meg Lanning, Sophie Ecclestone, Smriti Mandhana and Marizanne Kapp, has put women’s cricket on an entirely different and largely professional footing – captivating audiences across the cricket world.
In 2020, more than 86,000 supporters poured into the MCG to watch Australia beat India in the final of the tournament. Cape Town’s iconic Newlands Ground is nowhere near as cavernous as the MCG, but it’s likely to be full to its 25,000 capacity when the showdown to decide the winner of this year’s T20 World Cup takes place this weekend. And the chances of Australia being there to retain their title are equally high.
The all-conquering Aussies are no strangers to the trophy, having won it five times in its 14 year history. England, in 2009, and the West Indies in 2016, are the only other sides to be crowned world champions.
On Saturday all eyes will be on the final, and the side which ultimately goes on to lift the trophy made by us, Thomas Lyte.
Our associations with the sport and world cricket’s governing body, the ICC, are long and well-established, with Thomas Lyte having designed and created the instantly recognisable ICC World Test Championship Mace – handed to New Zealand for the first time in 2021 – and the men’s T20 World Cup trophy too.
Designed and lovingly hand-crafted by our team of elite silversmiths in our London workshop, the trophy itself is a reflection of everything women’s T20 cricket embodies – not least the drama and sense of adventure of a format that has completely revolutionised both men’s and women’s cricket.
As well as the trophy, Thomas Lyte also designs and makes the Player of the Match awards, Player of the Tournament awards, and the champions’ medals which will be handed to victors at the conclusion of the event.
Equality has been hard fought for in women’s sport and cricket is no different. This World Cup, though, has broken new ground. For the first time ever at an ICC event, a women’s tournament has had an all-female officiating team, comprising ten match umpires and three match referees.
This is a women’s World Cup in every sense – and a tournament that not only showcases everything that’s good about the game but also provides a window into its future.
On the pitch, the action has been as hotly contested as the sunny skies and soaring temperatures that have accompanied this World Cup. As the final approaches, that excitement is about to reach fever pitch.
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