Kolkata: India start as the favourites in Group A of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 because of its ranking and win record against other teams.
India play Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval on the opening day of the tournament that will be held between February 7 and 21 February in Colombo. Ireland, Zimbabwe and Thailand are the other teams in the group, while Group B has South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Scotland and Papua New Guinea. The top three teams from each group will qualify for the Super Six with the top two teams making it to the final.
While all qualifiers for the Super Sixes stage at the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 will gain ODI status for the next four years, the top four will qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 in England and Wales between June 24 June and July 23 and the next ICC Women’s Championship.
“We will obviously be cautious against all teams, the loss against Sri Lanka way back in 2013 was just one of those matches in which we did not click. But after that, whenever we have played them, we have clean-swept them, including in the ICC Women’s Championship last year. We have a balanced side with enough experience in batting and spin bowling, which should help us on the slow wickets of Sri Lanka. We aim to have a settled team through the tournament and prepare for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 by working on our tactics,” says Indian captain Mithali Raj.
India also has a balanced bowling attack led by former captain and top-ranked Jhulan Goswami and which also boasts left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who finished with 25 wickets in the ICC Women’s Championship.
While India and eighth-ranked Sri Lanka, whose best performance at the ICC Women’s World Cup is fifth position in 2013, will be the leading sides from the group, Ireland cannot be written off either. Ireland has never won a match against either India or Sri Lanka in nine and three matches, respectively, but has more depth and experience than regional qualifiers Zimbabwe and Thailand.