ICC Women’s Championship set for exciting start today

Karachi: The inaugural edition of the ICC Women’s Championship starts today (Thursday) and the opening round sees Australia host Pakistan and England take on India in the multi-year, bilateral qualifying competition to the pinnacle event in women’s cricket, the ICC Women’s World Cup England 2017.

On August 21, Pakistan women will face reigning World Cup champion Australia in a three One-Day International (ODI) series in Brisbane, while three-time winner England will play host to India for its three-match series at Scarborough and Lord’s.

The hosts of the Australian-Pakistan and England-India series will live-stream matches via their respective websites.

The concept, proposed by the ICC Women’s Committee and approved by the ICC Board in the January 2014 meeting, is aimed at creating more extensive and meaningful bilateral playing programme for women’s cricket. Other competing countries include New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies.

The tournament structure will see each team will play each other in one home or away series that will include three ODIs over a two and a half year period. As such, each side is guaranteed at least 21 ODIs over the tournament period.

Two points will be awarded for a win, while points will be shared in case of a tie or a no-result. At the conclusion of the seven rounds, the top four sides will gain automatic qualification to the ICC Women’s World Cup England 2017, while the bottom four sides will get a final chance of qualification through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in 2017.

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s opener at Peter Burge Oval, Pakistan captain Sana Mir said, “this is our first bilateral series against Australia. Before this series, we have only played them in ICC Women’s World Cups. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to express our potential as cricketers; achieving our targets against the world champions will be pretty good.”

England and India will meet in Scarborough in the first ODI on Thursday. They will then play in Scarborough on August 23 before facing each other in the third ODI at Lord’s on August 26.

In September, West Indies will host New Zealand for their three-ODI series, while Sri Lanka will host South Africa in October.

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