26 November 2015
ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier: Meet the teams, Group B
China and Netherlands looking forward to set straight missed oportunities
China Women missed out on a place in the previous edition of the ICC World T20 Qualifier in 2013, and standing between the team and a shot at glory was, once again, its rival Thailand. It is a rivalry that began perhaps in the 2010 Asian Games, when China pipped Thailand by one run to make it to the final. If the two teams meet in this tournament, it will only be in the knockouts, but China has a tough task on hand before that, needing to get ahead of Ireland, the Netherlands and Zimbabwe. Women's cricket has found considerable support in China, and with the team making rapid strides, any success will only validate this patronage.
Recent form: China was second in the ACC Women's Premier in February 2014; the only match it lost then was to Thailand. It then went on to be an Asian Games semifinalist, and will hope the experience of playing in England will help it come good.
Watch out for: Han Lili, the legspinner, has a reputation for keeping things tight and striking on the big stage.
Ireland Women qualified for the ICC Women's World T20 2014 in Bangladesh last time around, sneaking past the Netherlands by two runs in a thriller that decided the third qualifier. This time, a squad that is a mix of youth and experience is carrying the country's hopes. The team has come well prepared, having spent time training in the warm weather of La Manga in Spain, and focusing on power-hitting back home in Ireland. “It’s very important for the continued development of the team that we qualify for the main event in March,” said Isobel Joyce, the captain.
Recent form: Ireland faced off against the visiting Australians in the summer in three T20 Internationals, but couldn't complete a win. But those games, and the ones against the visiting South Africans the previous year, gave it much exposure of playing in the highest level. It finished fifth in England's NatWest Women's T20 Cup 2015 Division One.
Watch out for: Clare Shillington didn't have a great outing against Australia, but opponents would discount her at their own risk. She has a couple of T20 centuries against her name and has had useful knocks in England.
Semifinalists in the 2013 Qualifier, the Netherlands lost to Sri Lanka by 33 runs, then heartbreakingly lost to Ireland by two runs in the fight for the final ticket to Bangladesh. Revenge will be on their mind, right from the opening game on Friday, but they will have only five people from that 2013 side in the squad this time. A young squad with an average age of around 20 has been entrusted with the responsibility of bringing the honours home. The women will hope their experience in ECB's 50 and 20-over tournaments will give them an advantage.
Recent form: The side's preparation for Thailand included a stop in Sri Lanka, where it lost its first two games, but finished on a high with a 13-run win over Matara Sports Club.
Watch out for: Sterre Kalis did well on the Netherlands' warm-up tour of Sri Lanka, making 128 in three innings at a strike rate of 92.8.
Zimbabwe was placed sixth in the ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier 2013, but lost the Shield final to Thailand. The team, having somewhat acclimatised to the conditions having stopped over in Bangladesh, will want to improve on its showing and join the men's team for the ICC World T20 in India in 2016.
Recent form: Zimbabwe lost both matches of their T20 series against Bangladesh on the way to Thailand.
Watch out for: Sharne Mayers has offered Zimbabwe stability with useful contributions with bat and ball.
Rumana and Ayasha: Driving Bangladesh hopes in ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier
ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier: Meet the teams of Group A