8 teams pursue a spot in the ICC World Twenty20

Dublin, 23 July 2013: The ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier gets underway today (Tuesday 23 July), with host Ireland, Canada, Japan, Pakistan, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Zimbabwe fighting for three qualification spots to the ICC World Twenty20, to be held in Bangladesh in 2014.

The host, who has placed its faith in a youthful side for this tournament, kicks off its campaign against Japan at The Hills.

Captain Isobel Joyce said, ‘We have had some good preparation starting off with winter training at the beginning of the year in the indoor training facility focusing on Twenty20 cricket. Then leading into this tournament we have been playing lots of cricket and most recently against Pakistan.

‘We are excited to play at home, it is growing as a game in the country and that’s a great thing for us, younger girls as well as boys can now see their team playing.’

Sri Lanka skipper, Shashikala Siriwardene, whose side missed out on direct qualification for the Bangladesh tournament after a comprehensive defeat in the playoff against India in the ICC World Twenty20 2012, will be looking to claim a spot at the second attempt. ‘It is really important to play in the next ICC World Twenty20, first up will be Canada we will do our best to get off to a good start and look to build momentum to take through the tournament.’

Pakistan, who also missed out on direct qualification, losing a tight playoff match to South Africa off the penultimate ball will be eager to fill one of those three qualification spots. ‘We have been in Europe for the past month playing against England, Ireland and against domestic teams, so I feel we are very well prepared. Thailand are a very good team, we will try to bring our best performance onto the field and get a good start,’ said captain Sana Mir.

Mikaela Turik, Canada captain feels that her side is prepared for a tough week of cricket: ‘We had a series against Scotland and Thailand to prepare us for the conditions here in Ireland. Against Sri Lanka we are the underdog, but we are going to take every ball as it comes and hopefully get a good result.’

Netherlands skipper, Denise Hannema, whose side meets Zimbabwe in its first fixture at YMCA, is looking forward to the challenge. ‘It’s been a hectic year including the ECB 50 Over matches and we have played a few Twenty20 warm ups. We will look at the opening match against Zimbabwe as any other game, play as best we can, we are looking forward to it,’ said Hannema.

Thailand, who qualified for this tournament in January by winning the ACC Women’s Championship 2013, is excited for the challenge. ‘It is a great opportunity for us to be here, we’ve been working really hard for the past 6 months. We are very excited to play Pakistan in the first match, we have played them before and gained good experience we can take into the game,’ said Sornnarin Tippoch.

Ashley Burdette of Zimbabwe said, ‘We got to play against South Africa before this event and learnt a lot from them, we can hopefully take a lot from that experience. Netherlands are a strong team and we will need to play our best cricket against them.’

Japan’s preparation for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier was a tour of the UK in April. The captain Mariko Yamamoto said, ‘We have focused on our game and we are pleased with the way have prepared. Facing the hosts tomorrow we will look to take improvements into that match and get a good result.’

Morning matches start at 1000 local time and afternoon matches start at 1400 local time. —- ICC/ Photo: Ian Jacobs

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