Teams prepare to slug it out for place in ICC Women’s World T20 2018

2018 Women's World T20

Bangladesh and Ireland lead a list of eight nations who will be aspiring to give it their best shot in the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier 2018 in the Netherlands from Saturday, which provides the top two teams passage into the event proper in the West Indies later this year.

Bangladesh and Ireland are ranked ninth and 10th respectively on the ICC Women’s Team Rankings and pose a huge challenge to other teams in the eight-team tournament being held at the VRA Cricket Ground in Amstelveen and Kampong Cricket Club in Utrecht.

Bangladesh are in Group A, which also comprises the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and the United Arab Emirates, while Ireland are in Group B along with Scotland, Thailand and Uganda. Both finalists from the tournament will join Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and host West Indies in the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 from 9-24 November.

Apart from the two qualifying spots and the exposure of playing, sides also have an added incentive since all matches of the tournament are classified as Twenty20 Internationals.

Bangladesh and Ireland are not taking any team lightly and would be looking to grab eyeballs during a season that has seen several new highs. New Zealand set a new high ODI score last month while the T20I record team score has been broken three times this year, including twice in the same day by New Zealand and then England in a tri-series last month.

Anju Jain, a former India wicketkeeper-batter who has recently taken over as Bangladesh’s coach, is impressed not just with her own team but also the talent in other sides in the competition.

“I have been pretty impressed with the potential and talent of the Bangladesh team. I have only been here for the past two months and in that time the girls have been doing really well, credit goes to the players for the way they have responded. Our main focus has been converting potential to performance, as a team we need to look to keep on improving and make sure we qualify for the ICC Women’s WT20 in the West Indies.

“Playing in different locations as a professional cricketer or as a coach is always a challenge. As a coach, you need to prepare your team for those changes. We had a few matches in Ireland before coming here, which has similar conditions to here, so I think that will help us in getting the players to adapt. T20 cricket is very unpredictable so we have to be in our best form.

“It is great to see all the teams here at this event. I have been impressed by Uganda who are coming through. Looking at all the practice games every team seems to be beating each other, so that is a very good thing. Women’s cricket is definitely on a high, especially following last year’s ICC Women’s World Cup which is a huge positive more people are following and recognizing the game.”

Ireland coach Aaron Hamilton feels the team has planned well and it is now time to show their mettle.

“As the head coach, I’m looking for the players to execute our game plans and play with freedom and confidence. We have a highly talented squad, and if we play as I know we can, we will make a major impact at this tournament. No game will be easy, but the planning is over and it is now time to deliver.

“Our challenge, from a coaching perspective, will be picking the right combination of players for the right set of circumstances. If the players can all maintain their fitness throughout, we have a very good squad to pick from – a real blend of youth and experience – but a group that has the confidence and talent to progress,” he said.

The squads:

BANGLADESH – Salma Khatun (captain); Ayasha Rahman; Fahima Khatun; Fargana Hoque Pinky; Jahanara Alam; Khadiza-Tul Kubra; Lily Rani Biswas; Nahida Akter; Nigar Sultana Joty; Rumana Ahmed; Panna Ghosh; Shamima Sultana; Sanjida Islam and Sarmin Sultana. Anju Jain (coach)

IRELAND – Laura Delany (captain); Kim Garth; Cecelia Joyce; Isobel Joyce; Shauna Kavanagh; Gaby Lewis; Lara Maritz; Ciara Metcalfe; Cara Murray; Lucy O’Reilly; Eimear Richardson; Clare Shillington; Rebecca Stokell and Mary Waldron. Aaron Hamilton (coach)

NETHERLANDS – Heather Siegers (captain); Cher van Slobbe; Esther Corder; Caroline de Fouw; Babette de Leede; Denise Hannema; Sterre Kalis; Lisa Klokgieters; Mariska Kornet; Juliet Post; Annemijn Thomson; Robine Rijke; Silver Siegers and Jolien van Vliet. Sean Trouw (coach)

PNG – Pauke Siaka (captain); Natasha Ambol; Vicky Ara’a; Kaia Arua; Helen Buruka; Veru Kila Frank; Sibona Jimmy; Kopi John; Ravini Oa; Tanya Ruma; Brenda Tau; Mairi Tom; Isabel Toua and Naoani Vare. Rarua Dikana (coach)

SCOTLAND – Kathryn Bryce (captain), Abbi Aitken; Sarah Bryce; Priyanaz Chatterji; Becky Glen; Laura Grant; Lorna Jack; Abtaha Maqsood; Katie McGill; Jess Mills; Hannah Rainey; Rachel Scholes; Ellen Watson and Ruth Willis. Steve Knox (coach)

THAILAND – Sornnarin Tippoch (captain); Nattaya Boochatham; Naruemol Chaiwai; Natthakan Chantham; Onnicha Khamchomphu; Rosenanee Kanoh; Nannapat Koncharonkai; Suleeporn Laomi; Wongpaka Liengprasert; Rattanaporn Padunglerd; Srinitra Saengsakaorat; Sainamin Saenya; Chanida Sutthiruang and Arriya Yenyueak. Janak Gamage (coach)

UGANDA – Kevin Awino (captain); Joyce Mary Apio; Consylate Aweko; Getrude Candiru; Siadat Kemigisha; Janet Mbabazi; Rita Musamali; Frankline Najjumba; Immaculate Nakisuuyi; Mary Nalule; Prico Nakitende; Stephanie Nampiina; Carol Namugenyi and Rachael Ntono. Francis Ngede (coach)

UAE – Humaira Tasneem (captain); Chamani Senevirathne; Chaya Mughal; Esha Oza; Heena Hotchandani; Ishni Senavirathna; Judit  Cleetus; Kavisha Kumari; Namita Dsouza; Neha Sharma; Nisha Ali; Roopa Nagaraj; Subha Srinivasan and Udeni  Kuruppuarachchi. Sockalingam Vairamoorthy (coach)