26 November 2015
ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier: Meet the teams of Group A
Norma Ovasuru and Tippoch hoping to lead PNG and Thailand after losing the first game in Group A
Last time round for the ICC Women's World T20 2014, Bangladesh Women didn't have to go through a qualifier – the team automatically got a spot by virtue of being the host nation. But, before enthusiastic crowds, the side proved its skill through wins against Sri Lanka and Ireland, and went on to win the silver in the Asian Games the same year. Now, as the No. 9 side in the world going into the Qualifier, it will fancy its chances at ensuring a sophomore effort in the main event in India 2016.
Recent form: Under new T20 captain Jahanara Alam, Bangladesh warmed up for the Qualifier with a 2-0 series win over Zimbabwe. It would have been disappointed at having missed out on a chance to host the South Africans (who pulled out of a tour citing security concerns), but the tour of Pakistan earlier in October, where it lost both One-Day Internationals and both T20 Internationals, allowed for some valuable lessons.
Watch out for: Alam has taken to captaincy well, her 3 for 11 in the second game vital in closing out the series in her team's favour against Zimbabwe. Ayasha Rahman has been shoring up the batting, most recently with a half-century against Zimbabwe.
Papua New Guinea:
The women from Papua New Guinea call themselves the PNG Lewas, derived from 'lewa', a pidgin word for 'heart'. And true to its name, the team is determined to play with a lot of heart and passion. A spirited all-round campaign ended in triumph over Japan in the fight for top billing in the East Asia-Pacific Women's Trophy 2014. The men's side, after an entertaining opening, missed out on qualification to the ICC World T20 2016 in India – the women will be hoping to make up for that disappointment.
Recent form: A clean sweep of Samoa during a tour had boosted spirits, but the team had to settle for silver in the Pacific Cup 2015 when it lost a thriller to the same opponent in the title round.
Watch out for: Norma Ovasuru has been leading from the front, her all-round performance in the domestic contest giving her team, the Swire Shipping Sharks, the title.
Scotland, playing as the Wildcats, has honed its game through participation in the England and Wales Cricket Board's 20-over and 50-over tournaments, finishing fourth in NatWest Women's T20 Cup 2015 Division Three. This will be only the second time the Scotland women's side has qualified for a global ICC event, and Kari Carswell, Fiona Urquhart and Annette Drummond will only remember too well the high that came during the 2003 ODI World Cup qualifiers when the national side was taking baby steps.
But the unfamiliar situation and conditions are not a deterrent for the women. “We have a lot of very enthusiastic ladies, aged from 15 to 33, who are looking forward to experiencing an event of this magnitude ... There’s a great belief around the team, and as long as we go out there, play like I know we can do, and back our skills, I have no doubt that we can walk away from this tournament as better players,” said Abbi Aitken, the captain.
Recent form: The Wildcats had earned a promotion to ECB Division 2 for last season, but found the going tough. They did better in the T20 competitions though, winning five of their eight matches.
Watch out for: Aitken is nearing 100 caps for her country, and has enjoyed a good run in both the Royal London Women's One-Day Cup, where she took 11 wickets, and the T20 Cup, where she picked up six wickets, including a best of 3 for 2.
In the 2013 ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier, Thailand beat Zimbabwe by 25 runs through the Duckworth-Lewis method in the Shield final. With the home advantage, the side will hope to press for an improved showing this time around. “We have done our best with our preparation despite the extended rainy season and various academic and work commitments,” said Sornnrin Tippoch, the captain. “It is very exciting for everyone to host this tournament, which will generate a lot of good exposure and publicity, and more Thai people will know about cricket.”
Recent form: Thailand did well in the group stage of the Asian Games 2014, but came up against a strong Pakistan side in the knockouts. It remained unbeaten in the ACC Women's Premier 2014 in five games, capping a good few days with a win over arch-rival China.
Watch out for: Tippoch, the captain, was the best bowler in the Women's Premier, but her contribution with the bat and her canny reading of the game are as important to the team.
ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier: Meet the teams, Group B
Women's Qualifiers set for intense battle with two spots at stake for India 2016