The ICC Women's World Cup 2022 in New Zealand is off to a fabulous start. India got their campaign going with a victory against their arch-rivals Pakistan in Sunday's headline clash.
As a result, India are currently at the top of the table. South Africa are in second place after their win against Bangladesh, while Australia and West Indies complete the top four spots after their wins against England and New Zealand, respectively.
Apart from the best batswomen and all-rounders in the world, this exciting tournament will also see the best bowlers in women's cricket trying to take their team to World Cup glory.
Let's look at the 5 bowlers who are most likely to take the Women's World Cup by storm.
#5 Ayabonga Khaka
Ayabonga Khaka starred in South Africa's tournament opener, leading the charge against Bangladesh with figures of 4/32. She has been a key part of the Proteas bowling unit in recent times.
Since the 2017 Women's World Cup, only three other bowlers have taken more wickets than Khaka. She finished as the highest wicket-taker in South Africa's series against West Indies, bagging 10 scalps at an average of 13.30.
With her ability to take wickets at any stage of the innings, Khaka is a workhorse in the South African unit. She has already got her tournament off to a great start and is, certainly, one to watch out for in the Women's World Cup this year.
#4 Darcie Brown
With 6 World Cup titles to their name, Australia have been the most dominant side in the Women's World Cup history. They have produced a number of quality players that have led them to great heights of success.
Darcie Brown is the latest name to make her mark for the champion side. The 18-year old made her T20I, ODI, and Test debuts in 2021, impressing everyone with her great ability.
In five ODI matches, the teenager has taken 9 wickets at an economy rate of 4.88. With the likes of Megan Schutt, Ellyse Perry, and Tahlia McGrath already in their ranks, Brown could be the X-factor for the Australian side this year.
#3 Kate Cross
Kate Cross has been one of England's most underrated bowlers in recent times. With Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole, and Sophie Ecclestone stealing most of the limelight, Kate Cross quietly goes about her business playing the supporting role excellently.
The first female cricketer to be signed by Lancashire Academy, Cross has been terrific in the longer formats for England. She has taken 55 wickets in her ODI career, averaging 22.78.
In conditions conducive to swing bowling, the Manchester Originals player can be more than a handful and can run through most batting units. Interestingly, this will be her first World Cup.
#2 Jhulan Goswami
India's 'Chakda Express', Jhulan Goswami, needs no introduction. The veteran has the most wickets for any women's player in ODIs, with 247 scalps in 196 matches. Regarded as one of the greatest bowlers of all time, Goswami, in all likelihood, will be playing her final Women's World Cup this year.
The lanky pacer has been an ever-present figure in the Indian team alongside her captain, Mithali Raj, for a very long time. This might be Mithali's final World Cup too, so the two stalwarts will be looking to sign off on a winning note.
Needless to say, the 39-year-old fast bowler will have a pivotal role to play should India get anywhere near the elusive title.
#1 Shabnim Ismail
Another Protea on the list is Shabnim Ismail. The rampaging opening bowler, who made her debut in 2007, has been a vital cog in the South African wheel for more than a decade now.
South Africa's all-time leading wicket-taker in ODIs has been at the top of her game lately. Since the last Women's World Cup, no other bowler has more wickets than Ismail. Alongside Ayabonga Khaka and Marizanne Kapp, Ismail is part of one of the most threatening bowling units in the Women's World Cup.
Ismail has 165 wickets to her name, at an average of under 21 and an economy rate of 3.66. If South Africa get over the final hurdle this year, Ismail could be the one leading the way for them.