KARACHI: Pakistan captain Nida Dar and her West Indies counterpart Hayley Matthews pose with the series trophy.—Tahir Jamal/White Star
KARACHI: Pakistan captain Nida Dar and her West Indies counterpart Hayley Matthews pose with the series trophy.—Tahir Jamal/White Star

KARACHI: Pakistan will look to consolidate their position in the ICC Women’s Championship table to earn direct qualification for next year’s World Cup, when they take on the West Indies in the first of the three-match One-day International series here at the National Bank Stadium on Thursday.

Led by Nida Dar, Pakistan are placed fifth in the table, with eight wins out of a total of 18 matches and will have to finish on the sixth position at the lowest to ensure they don’t need to play the qualifying tournament to make it to the World Cup, set to be held in India.

West Indies, meanwhile, have managed only six wins in 12 matches of the Women’s Championship campaign and will be desperate to improve their record and their prospects to qualifier for the 50-over showpiece.

“Currently, we are at number five in the points table, and God willing, we’ll make every effort to win these matches against West Indies and earn those points to ensure direct entry [into the World Cup],” Nida said during the pre-series press conference on Wednesday.

Pakistan go into the West Indies series, of which the second and third matches will be played at the iconic Karachi venue on Saturday and Tuesday, with a historic win against New Zealand away from home, which would boost their confidence.

Their T20 series win over South Africa here last year, also makes the metropolis a happy hunting ground for Pakistan.

“Well, we are very excited about this series because our records in Karachi are very good,” noted Nida. “We played and won some great matches against South Africa last time. Definitely, the momentum we gained in New Zealand will also count.

“We know we can beat good teams, and our preparation has been terrific.”

Nida was confident the resources she has at her disposal would be enough for Pakistan to put up a good show against the West Indies. She was especially in awe of all-rounder Fatima Sana, hailing her all-round abilities.

“Our spinners and especially Fatima, have very good records,” said the Pakistan skipper. “Fatima has excellent records in ODIs, and she’s also been the ICC Emerging Player of the Year.

“Our spin attack has been strong from the start, while our fast bowlers are doing a great job as well.”

West Indies captain Hailey Matthews believed the team needed to improve their show with the bat, as they languished at the ninth place in the Women’s Cham­pionship table.

“I think it’s been evident in our past year two that we probably haven’t scored as many runs as we would have wanted to,” she said. “But at the same time, it’s something that we’ve been working on a whole lot throughout our regional competition and throughout training camps as well.

“I think when we look at the teams we faced in the championship as well, we’ve had a lot of the higher-ranked teams to play against.

So hoping that we can go out there and really put up some good performances and, yeah, I guess be able to gain some points off of the teams that are more closely right to us.”

PAKISTAN: Nida Dar (captain), Aliya Riaz, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Muneeba Ali, Najiha Alvi (wicket-keeper), Nashra Sundhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz (wicket-keeper), Tuba Hassan, Umm-e-Hani, Waheeda Akhtar

WEST INDIES: Hayley Matthews (captain), Shemaine Campbelle (vice-captain), Aaliyah Alleyne, Afy Fletcher, Chedean Nation, Cherry Ann Fraser, Chinelle Henry, Jannillea Glasgow, Karishma Ramharack, Kate Wilmott, Qiana Joseph, Rashada Williams, Shamilia Connell, Stafanie Taylor, Zaida James

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2024

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