Starting in Zimbabwe on 21 November, nine women's teams will compete for the final three spots at next year's Women's Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
Ahead of the first day of action, we’ve earmarked the players that could prove the difference for their teams at the tournament.
Matches will be shown live on ICC.tv, with scoring, match recaps and player features on the ICC website and the official ICC app.
Bangladesh - Salma Khatun
Bangladesh’s leading wicket-taker at the 2017 Qualifier, Salma Khatun’s off-spin through the middle phases has the potential to swing matches in her country’s favour. Whether it be to break an opposition top order partnership, or to tighten the screws, Khatun’s ten-over allotment will prove vital.
Having held the No.1 spot on the Women’s T20I bowling rankings back in 2014, and boasting over a hundred wickets across the international formats, Khatun also holds the record for the most maidens in Women’s T20I cricket and will look to bring that experience over to the 50-over format
A member of the Trailblazers side in the 2020 edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge, Salma’s experience in high-pressure situations must come to the fore if Bangladesh are to make waves.
The final three spots for the Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 are up for grabs!— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) November 2, 2021
All the details of the 10-team Qualifier beginning on 21 November in Zimbabwe 👇 https://t.co/bFV7MlLjCq
Ireland - Laura Delany
The October winner of the ICC Women’s Player of the Month, Ireland skipper Laura Delany is in a rich vein of form and will lead the team from the front with bat and ball.
Winning their ODI series against Zimbabwe 3-1, Delany looked comfortable in Zimbabwean conditions, making scores of 88, 35 and 68 at a strike rate approaching 110. With the ball, Delany used her own medium pace to good effect, taking four wickets at an average of 27.
Pulling the team through the middle overs with the bat, Delany holds the key either through innings rebuilds, or towards the back end with the Irish lifting the run rate.
Netherlands - Sterre Kalis
When your name is uttered in the same sentence as Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy, people take notice.
Making 126* against Germany in a 2019 T20I, Kalis set the record for the highest score in a T20I, edging Lanning, who was dismissed on the same score against Ireland in 2014.
Kalis’ mark has been overtaken by Tanzania’s Fatuma Kibasu, Lanning and Healy, but the right-hander should make headlines again in Zimbabwe.
Missing the Women’s T20 World Cup European Qualifier earlier in the year, Kalis’ inclusion is a (massive) boost for the Netherlands' Cricket World Cup aspirations. The most complete batter in the Dutch squad, Kalis averages 37.06 in T20I cricket for her country and comes off a strong northern summer, averaging over 40 in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
Pakistan - Javeria Khan
Set to feature in her third qualifying campaign for her country, Javeria Khan has raced to the top of Pakistan’s Women's ODI run list, compiling close to 3,000 runs at an average of a tick under 30.
A gritty player with good touch through an array of shots, Javeria moves her feet well against spin, though it’s a still head and strong hands that churns out runs against the quicker bowlers. Javeria must provide the bulk of the runs for Pakistan, with Bismah Maroof, Pakistan’s second-highest run scorer in the format, on indefinite leave.
Encouraged by her side’s effort at the 2011 effort, and taking valuable lessons from the 2017 campaign under Sana Mir, Javeria will take the captaincy reins for the tournament, and her leadership will be crucial in crunch situations.
Sri Lanka - Chamari Athapaththu
Flying away as Sri Lanka’s most prolific run-scorer in Women’s ODIs, it’s hard to run out of superlatives for Chamari Athapaththu, who, even at 31, could lay claim to being the best Sri Lanka Women’s player of all time.
While Shashikala Siriwardene could make the same argument, her retirement from international cricket last year means more weight now rests on Athapaththu’s shoulders.
Leading the side as skipper and as an opening batter, Athapaththu has reached fifty on 19 occasions in 84 ODIs, unperturbed by the pressure of carrying the bulk of Sri Lanka’s batting workload. Athapaththu has a proven record in the pressure cooker of a qualifying tournament, compiling 229 runs in their successful 2017 campaign.
Measured when needed, and fearlessly aggressive when on top, Athapaththu can take the game away from any opponent at the competition.
Thailand - Nattaya Boochatham
Thailand may be yet to taste official Women’s ODI cricket, but their impressive start to T20I cricket bodes well for the younger format, particularly for the 34-year-old all-rounder.
For bowlers who have bowled a minimum of 500 balls in the T20I format, no player has a better bowling strike rate than the off-spinner (13.4) who is also the only player to boast a bowling average of under 10 (8.77).
The ICC Women’s Player of the Month for August, Boochatham displayed her qualities in the same Zimbabwean conditions Thailand will experience at the Qualifier. In three T20Is, Boochatham claimed 10 wickets at 5.60, with best figures of 4/16.
Opening the batting for Thailand in T20I cricket, Boochatham should enjoy the longer format with her compact and technical style.
USA - Tara Norris
Philadelphia-born Tara Norris has provided a fast-bowling spark for USA since her inclusion, drawing on her experience from the UK domestic system.
Debuting for USA in T20I cricket during September’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Americas qualifier, Norris was too much for her opponents, and will spearhead an American attack eager to turn heads.
Hardened by 50-over cricket, Norris’ knowledge of the longer white ball format will prove invaluable to her teammates in what is a difficult competition, and she should enjoy the new ball conditions of Zimbabwe.
West Indies - Stafanie Taylor
Joining Mithali Raj and Charlotte Edwards, Stafanie Taylor reached 5,000 ODI runs during West Indies’ recent tour to Pakistan, and looks in ominous form after an unbeaten century in her last match in Karachi just days ago.
Feeling little pressure with her side stumbling to 15-3 in a chase of 226, Taylor, captaining the side, showed little panic. Hitting 12 boundaries in her 117-ball 102, Taylor teamed up Hayley Matthews and Chedean Nation to cruise home by six wickets, and with six wickets to spare.
Claiming the away series 3-0, West Indies look in good touch in no small part to Taylor’s world-class play. To match her seven Women’s ODI centuries, Taylor boasts 146 wickets at 21.58 with her off-spin, including five four-wicket hauls.
Zimbabwe - Mary-Anne Musonda
Nominated for last month’s ICC Women’s Player of the Month with Irish duo Delany and Gaby Lewis, Mary-Anne Musonda will lead Zimbabwe’s home campaign needing to fire for her team.
Marking Zimbabwe’s first ever Women’s ODI with victory as her team’s captain, Musonda was the star, scoring an emphatic 103 not out.
Falling to a 3-1 defeat to Ireland, and a 3-0 defeat to Bangladesh earlier this month, Musonda’s struggles after her century were a key factor in Zimbabwe’s dip in form. Dismissed for 5, 10 and 0 against Bangladesh in Bulawayo, Musonda’s wicket is gold dust for Zimbabwe's opponents.
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