Elite teams look to progress up the Women’s Championship table
The third round of the ICC Women’s Championship continues this week with four teams looking to climb out of the bottom half of the points table and fine-tune their preparations for the ICC Women’s WT20 2018.
Sri Lanka host India, whilst 2018 hosts Windies welcome South Africa with all four sides looking to make up ground on Australia, England, Pakistan and leaders New Zealand in the race to qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2021.
The ICC Women’s Championship sees all eight sides taking on each other in a series of three ODIs home and away. Following the ODI games, there will be crucial preparation for this winter’s Women’s World T20 event with a number of T20Is scheduled.
Sri Lanka host India from 11-16 September in a series that is important for both teams. For Sri Lanka, the series starting in Galle is an opportunity to open their account in home conditions while trying to forget their 3-0 series loss to India in the last edition of the tournament. For India, it is a chance to bounce back after their recent defeat at the hands of defending champions Australia at home.
ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 finalists India are placed sixth with a tally of four points after six matches, both wins coming in a 2-1 series win over South Africa, while Sri Lanka are yet to earn a point after completing their engagements against Pakistan and the West Indies.
Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu has a bold ambition of winning the series. On the other hand, India captain Mithali Raj is not taking the series lightly even though she knows that the likes of vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur, this year’s ECB Super League player of the tournament Smriti Mandhana and the captain herself are part of a formidable batting order.
Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu: “Our aim is to do well in this series, in order to build our points to automatically qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup, so winning the three games is our first priority.
“We are shaping up very well. We have a new coach, Harsha de Silva, who has brought in some fresh thinking into our game. He has been with us earlier and the Sri Lanka women’s team have won matches under his charge. So, the confidence level of our players has gone up.”
They have some world-class players with massive experience behind them. Nevertheless, we also have some solid experience and we are playing at home. Every moment of the game is a challenge for us. Every opposition is a challenge for us. However, the team who does well on the match-day wins.
India captain Mithali Raj: “We will definitely play to our calibre and potential to help us gain maximum points from our series against Sri Lanka. We look forward to climb up the table and will work together as a team.
“We have practiced well for this series and this series will give us a great opportunity to prepare for the upcoming ICC Women’s World T20 in the West Indies.
“The Sri Lanka side is good and capable of beating any leading team. We will definitely not take this series lightly, especially because winning every point is important in getting our direct entry into the ICC Women’s World Cup.”
ICC Women’s WT20 champions play at home: The West Indies host South Africa in Bridgetown from 16-22 September in a series that could see a change of positions in the points table. The home side have six points from six matches with South Africa just two points behind in as many matches.
The West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor, who has scored 321 runs and grabbed 11 wickets in six matches of the tournament so far, wants her team to be identified among the leading teams but remembers that South Africa had the better of them in recent matches. South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk understands the importance of playing in the West Indies.
West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor: “With the ICC Women’s World T20 taking place in the Caribbean this year, our Board has invested in a number of training camps for the team throughout the year, and they have been going well. Everyone is excited and looking forward to putting into practice what they have been working on and have learnt.
“They (South Africa) have improved steadily and we have had some tough matches against them over the last few years. We had two unflattering performances against them in a warm-up game and then in the group stage at the ICC Women’s World Cup last year in England, so this should motivate us to perform at our utmost best and defend our home turf.
“Our biggest challenge is ourselves. Being able to overcome our own doubts and fears and play boldly. Also, practicing good habits. Preparing well. Paying attention to detail. Taking ownership of our game. All of these things come together to make you successful on the field. We have to embrace them and bring them to a boil during the series.”
South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk: “This ICC Women’s Championship series provides us with a great opportunity to prepare for the ICC Women’s WT20 later this year, also to be held in the West Indies.
“Getting to play the ICC Women’s World T20 champions should be a great learning even though this is a longer format. There are some important points up for grabs in this series and we are hoping to move up the ICC Women’s Championship points table. Stafanie Taylor and her team are a talented lot and we will be looking to be at our best.”
Sri Lanka v India:
11 September: 1st ODI, Galle
13 September: 2nd ODI, Galle
16 September: 3rd ODI, Katunayake
West Indies v South Africa:
16 September: 1st ODI, Bridgetown
19 September: 2nd ODI, Bridgetown
22 September: 3rd ODI, Bridgetown
Sri Lanka: Chamari Athapathu (captain), Kaveesha Dilhari, Nilakshi De Silva, Nipuni Hansika, Ama Kanchana, Sugandika Kumari, Dilani Manodara, Imalka Mendis, Hasini Perera, Udeshika Prabodhini, Inoka Ranaweera, Anushka Sanjeewani, Shashikala Siriwardena, Prasadani Weerakkody, Sripalee Weerakkodi,
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Tanya Bhatia, Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Dayalan Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy Smriti Mandhana, Shikha Pandey, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav.
West Indies: Stafanie Taylor (captain), Merissa Aguilleira, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Qiana Joseph, Kycia Knight, Hayley Matthews, Natasha Mclean, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Shakera Selman,.
South Africa: Dané van Niekerk (captain), Marizanne Kapp, Masabata Klaas, Lizelle Lee, Suné Luus, Zintle Mali, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Mignon du Preez, Robyn Searle, Tumi Sekhukhune, Saarah Smith, Chloe Tryon, Faye Tunnicliffe, Laura Wolvaardt,
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