Wellington, March 11: A harsh lesson learnt after England women bowed out of T20 World Cup without actually playing the semi-final against India, the ICC has now allocated a reserve day each for the two semi-finals and final of the 2021 ODI edition in New Zealand.
The ICC released the 31-match schedule for the tournament, starting February 6 to March 7 in New Zealand with reserve days scheduled for all three knockout matches a day later.
Last week, England were forced to make an exit from the T20 Women's World Cup after their semifinal clash was washed out resulting in India, the higher-ranked side in the group stage, progressing to the final.
The ICC had faced a lot of flak for not keeping a reserve day of the recently concluded Women's T20 World Cup. The Women's ODI World Cup will be played at six venues, including Eden Park (Auckland), Bay Oval (Tauranga), Seddon Park (Hamilton), University Oval (Dunedin), Basin Reserve (Wellington) and Hagley Oval (Christchurch).
The iconic Basin Reserve will stage the highly anticipated Trans-Tasman showdown between New Zealand and Australia on February 13. Auckland will host the opening game between the hosts and a qualifying team, the semifinals will be played in Tauranga and Hamilton on February March 3 and 4 respectively with the summit clash scheduled to take place in Christchurch on March 7.
"It's a match we absolutely fizz about as players - taking on the Aussies is always a huge thrill. Cricket fans who come along to the Basin Reserve on Saturday the 13th of February will no doubt see a lot of passion from both teams," New Zealand captain, Sophie Devine said.
New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa have already qualified for the World Cup. The remaining four teams will be established following the completion of the ICC Women's Championship and a subsequent qualifying tournament in Sri Lanka in July.
The eight-team round-robin format will see all teams play each other, with the top four teams qualifying for semi-finals. Prize money for the showpiece of women's international cricket will total NZD 5.5million, and all matches will be broadcast live to a huge global audience.
"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," ICC CEO, Manu Sawhney said.
"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 Women's Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand having NZD5.5 million dollars available in prize money compared to NZD 3.1m in 2017 and NZD316,000 in 2013," he added.
With the 30-day, 31-match schedule now locked in, ICC Women's Cricket World Cup CEO Andrea Nelson is excited to see the country get behind the event.
"Our team is proud to be delivering a tournament where Kiwis across the whole country, in each of our six host cities, can really get involved in what is a truly special event. We can't wait to see the excitement build around New Zealand as we prepare to roll out the welcome mat for the rest of the world," Nelson said.