By Sohail Ali
LAHORE, Jan 19 (APP):Pakistan women’s national cricket team will be in action after a gap of over 10 months when they step out on the field at Kingsmead Cricket Stadium for the first of the three one-day-internationals against South Africa, on Wednesday [tomorrow].
The national women’s team played their last international game during the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia before the Covid-19 pandemic brought an abrupt halt to sporting activities across the globe.
Javeria Khan who is the joint leading run-scorer for her side against South Africa captains Pakistan for the series. The right-handed top-order batter has scored 377 in 14 innings and has struck the most fours (41) for her side.
Her batting average of 48 is the best for a Pakistan batter against South Africa in South Africa.
The 17-member line-up also boasts all-rounder Nida Dar, who has the best bowling average of 18 and the second best economy rate of 3.07 amongst the Pakistan bowlers who have bowled 60 or more overs against South Africa.
Pakistan’s last tour of South Africa in May 2019 resulted in one of the most thrilling ODI series played in the history of the women’s game. The three-match ODI series, part of ICC Women’s Championship, ended in tie with the 1-1 scoreline. That the series finished that way was because of left-arm orthodox Nashra Sandhu, who dazzled with the bat scoring seven runs off the last two balls of the final match.
This series also serves as a platform for the women’s team to begin their preparations for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers which will be held in July this year.
All three ODIs and the three T20Is, which follow them, will be played at the Kingsmead Cricket Stadium and this will mark the first instance of the side playing at this venue.
Javeria Khan said Tuesday on the eve of the match : “We are absolutely delighted to be in South Africa to resume international cricket after a long gap of 10 months. We have been eagerly waiting for this moment and since now it is here, every player is excited and looking forward to making it memorable.
“This squad has been sweating it out and have put in the hard yards in the last three months. Despite Covid-19 pandemic, we were fortunate enough to have a strength and conditioning camp, a three-team domestic T20 tournament and a pre-departure camp in which we got the desired match practice.
“This series is of great significance for us as it not only allows us to play a better-ranked side but it also serves as a platform to kick off our preparations for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers later this year. We have had competitive training sessions since our arrival here and they have helped us in acclimatisation.”
Pakistan and South Africa have played 21 ODIs against each other. Pakistan have won four, while South Africa have won 15.
Javeria Khan (c), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Nawaz (wk) and Syeda Aroob Shah
Tour schedule (all matches at Kingsmead Cricket Stadium, Durban):
20 Jan – First ODI, 1pm (PST)
23 Jan – Second ODI, 1pm (PST)
26 Jan – Third ODI, 1pm (PST)
29 Jan – First T20I, 6.30pm (PST)
31 Jan – Second T20I, 6.30pm (PST)
3 Feb – Third T20I, 6.30pm (PST).