Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com
Nigar Sultana Joty, the captain of Bangladesh, believes that her team is a “prime contender” to advance for the main event from the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier, which gets underway today in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Bangladesh national women’s team will also start their tournament campaign on the same day as they take on Ireland in a Group A encounter at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The match is scheduled to start at 9:00pm Bangladesh Standard Time.
Bangladesh are the top-ranked side in the qualifying tournament and they emerged champions in the previous two editions of the qualifiers in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
‘I believe we are prime contenders to qualify for the main event, and there, the challenge is to live up to expectations. I’m very confident in the capabilities of my team, but we have to play our natural game and be consistent,’ Joty was quoted in an ICC press release.
Bangladesh, however, suffered a massive blow ahead of their tournament campaign as pace bowler Jahanara Alam and batter Fargana Hoque Pinky were ruled out of the tournament for different reasons.
Jahanara was ruled out of qualifiers after sustaining a hand injury in practice while Fargana was tested positive for Covid-19.
Left-arm pacer Fariha Islam Trisna was named the replacement for Jahanara while all-rounder Shohaly Akther, who last represented Bangladesh eight years ago, was named the replacement for Fargana.
Despite the two setbacks, Bangladesh clinched a massive 54-run victory over UAE in their lone warm-up game in Abu Dhabi on Friday and they want to continue the same form in the tournament as well.
‘We are obviously looking to ensure qualification. It’s not about the opposition or the conditions. We are focusing on improvement all the time,’ Joty said.
‘I think in terms of experience and quality, we are right up there. The players have been together for a while and therefore the team spirit is excellent.
‘We have played a major domestic competition, the National Cricket League, before coming here. This season’s tournament was played in a T20 format, which has helped the players adapt to the different styles because our last international
competition was the 50-over World Cup. Besides, we have been training continuously…’ she added.
Meanwhile, in the day’s other matches, hosts UAE will take on Thailand, Zimbabwe will take on PNG and Scotland will face USA.
Bangladesh will play their next two Group A matches against Scotland and USA on September 19 and 21 respectively.
Group B consists of Thailand, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea and UAE.
The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-final while the final of the tournament will take place on September 25.
Both the finalists will get a chance to play in the upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, scheduled in South Africa next year.