Women’s World T20: India to face Kiwis in opener

Dubai [United Arab Emirates]: India will face New Zealand in the opening game of Women’s World T20 as the International Cricket Council (ICC) unveils the schedule for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2018, to be held in West Indies from November 9 to 24.

India and New Zealand will lock horns in the inaugural game of the event on November 9 at the Guyana National Stadium before the former faces arch-rival Pakistan on November 11 at the same venue.

Indian team have been put in Group B along with Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Qualifier 2. Defending Champions West Indies, on the other hand, are clubbed with England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Qualifier 1 in Group A.

The finalists of the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier in the Netherlands July 7 to 14 will complete the line-up of the November tournament, which is the first stand-alone ICC Women’s World Twenty20 event.

The teams participating in the qualifying event are Bangladesh, Ireland, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Thailand, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates.

The 10-team tournament, featuring three-time champions Australia, reigning ICC Women’s World Cup winners England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and defending champions the Windies, plus two qualifiers, will be played across three venues- Guyana National Stadium, The Darren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia and Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua- in the Caribbean.

Reacting on the announcement, India captain Harmanpreet Kaur said, “The announcement of the schedule marks the countdown to this big event and we are all really looking forward to playing in the West Indies. The ICC Women’s World Twenty20 will be a competitive tournament with some tough league matches early on and no team can take it easy at any stage. Naturally, expectations will be high from our team after our World Cup final appearance last year and we aim to be at our best during the tournament.”

Defending champion West Indies’ captain Stafanie Taylor expressed delight over the announcement and said that the country is a great venue to hold cricket tournaments.

“It is great to host the cricket world here in the West Indies. This is a great place to play cricket and we know our fans will enjoy every moment of the tournament. It’s extra special as our families and friends will get to see us playing on home soil in a huge international tournament. It is also wonderful to have the cricket world see what the game is like in the region, how we celebrate and enjoy ourselves, and feel the vibes, the music and the culture,” Taylor said.

ODI World champion England’s captain Heather Knight stated that it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to be double world champions. She asserted that they are capable of playing good T20 cricket but hard work and consistency is something that the team should strive for.

“We’re really excited about the World T20 in the Caribbean. It’s an amazing chance to become double world champions but we have a lot of hard work to do first. We showed in India in our tri-series that we’re capable of playing very good T20 cricket but we need to keep improving as a side and add more consistency to our game,” Knights said.

All 23 matches of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2018 will be broadcast live to maintain the momentum and focus on women’s cricket, while the Decision Review System (DRS) will be used for the first time in any ICC World Twenty20 event, ensuring consistency in the use of technology in top world-level events. (ANI)