Chance for bottom four in Women T20 to make a statement

Wednesday, 3 October 2012 00:38 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • For the women who haven’t made the semifinals, there’s one last chance to redeem themselves and qualify for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2014

Of the eight teams that took part in the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2012 in Galle, the four that haven’t made it to the semi-finals still have something to play for and fortunes to make.

India faces Sri Lanka and Pakistan will take on South Africa on Wednesday (October 3) in Colombo at two separate venues. The two matches are play-offs for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2014, and thus offer the four teams a chance to return home with some cheer in spite of being eliminated in the group stages of the ongoing edition.

India plays Sri Lanka at the Nondescripts Cricket Club and Pakistan plays South Africa at Moors Sports Club Ground – both matches slotted for 9.30am local time.

India will be keen to salvage something from what has been a disappointing campaign after it made the semi-finals in 2009 and 2010.It is the only team in the competition without a single win under its belt, and should back itself to win against Sri Lanka, even though Sri Lanka has the home advantage.

Sri Lanka won a rain-interrupted match against West Indies in Group B, but was brushed aside by New Zealand and South Africa. Sri Lanka will look to Shashikala Siriwardena, the captain, to lead the way with the bat. The bowlers haven’t really set the tournament on fire so far,but two factors could work in their favour. This is the final chance they will get to set things right in front of their home fans and they will be bowling to an Indian batting line-up that has not hit its straps.

India’s batting came under fire from Mithali Raj, the captain, after its one-run loss against Pakistan, and has looked half-baked through much of the competition. Harmanpreet Kaur was expected to be one ofthe middle-order mainstays, but she hasn’t displayed the form she did earlier in the year against England, while Raj herself has a highest score of only 35. Poonam Raut has been the only consistent batter,while Jhulan Goswami showed encouraging signs of a return to bowling form in the match against Pakistan.

Pakistan, will be buoyed after its thrilling win against India, but it will face a stiff challenge from South Africa. Sana Mir, the Pakistancaptain, described the win as one of the ‘high points’ of her career,and Pakistan will need to harness the positive energy from that against South Africa.

Nida Rashid, the Player of the Match against India, will be expected to carry that form and can form a good spin-bowling combination with Mir. Pakistan’s batting will, however, have to put in a better show than it has so far. No batter has crossed 30 for Pakistan, and the bowlers can’t be expected to successfully defend low scores every time.

South Africa is probably the strongest of the teams to miss out on a semi-finals berth, and while not qualifying will hurt, it will be eager to sign off on a high. Mignon du Preez, the South Africa captain, had spoken earlier of the need for fan and media support for the women’s team, and winning and qualifying for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2014 will be crucial to gaining that support.

Du Preez apart, South Africa will look to Dane van Niekerk to lead the way against Pakistan. Van Niekerk has had a good tournament, with runs and wickets, and been one of South Africa’s best players on show.

The qualifiers will be played on a day that has no other matches –men’s or women’s – scheduled, and that will bring them into prominence. With that, and the fact that as natural competitors, theplayers would like to leave on a high, there should be plenty to look forward to.

For the winners, they will be guaranteed a place in the 2014 event,along with Bangladesh, who qualify as hosts, and the four semi-finalists. For the losers, they will be battling for the one remaining qualification spot in an eight-team qualifying tournament that will be held next year.