Thursday, December 1, 2022

Cricket Ireland: Ireland v Pakistan – Preview of the historic women’s series

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There is a real feeling that Ireland Women’s tour to Pakistan is marking the beginning of a new phase in this team’s development.

There is a real sense that Ireland Women’s tour to Pakistan marks the beginning of a new phase in this team’s development. These will be the first games that Ireland Women have played since they successfully qualified for the 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. The knowledge that they will be back playing on the World Cup stage in the new year should lend real confidence to the squad going into this important series. 

These two sides met recently at Bready in Northern Ireland when they were joined by Australia for a rain-affected tri-series in July. The sides only faced each other once in a reduced 14-over-a-side match which Pakistan won by 13 runs – the other scheduled match between them was a washout. Captain Laura Delany said after that completed game that it was “an opportunity missed” and that Ireland should have got over the line – so her team will be relishing the opportunity to face Pakistan again so soon after it.

Both teams will be targeting this ODI Series to gain valuable ICC Women’s Championship points while also using the T20I series to put plans into place ahead of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in February 2023. 

The form

Pakistan is a passionate cricket-loving nation and playing there will be an experience like no other for this young Irish squad. It will also be the first set of away fixtures that Ireland will play in the ICC Women’s Championship (they played a three-match series against South Africa in Dublin back in June this year, a series they lost 3-0).

Pakistan hosted Sri Lanka earlier in the year and won that series 2-1. Pakistan also recently played in the Asia Cup, losing to Sri Lanka in the semi-final but recording a famous victory over India in the group stages.

How well Ireland’s batters can combat Pakistan’s spinners will have a huge say in who comes out on top in both the T20s and ODIs in conditions that will be difficult for the Irish. Indeed, it was those spinners in the rain-affected match at Bready that made the difference, with Ireland unable to break the shackles against Nida Dar (3-0-17-1), Fatima Sana (3-0-12-1), and Tuba Hassan (3-0-10-1) in particular. And it was all-rounder Dar who earlier rescued the Pakistan batting innings when she came in late and scored 26 from just 15 balls.

Players to watch

Pakistan:

Pakistan will be looking for a return to form from their skipper Bismah Maroof. T20 cricket has dominated the schedule in the recent past but the 50-over format suits Maroof’s style of play better; preferring to accumulate than to blast runs.

Omaima Sohail is another Pakistan batter that will be looking to make her mark after a relatively quiet run of form.

Meanwhile, former captain Javeria Khan looks set to make her comeback in the T20 series. Khan has had a difficult time the last 15 months and found herself out of the team, but the diminutive batter has an impressive record against Ireland with 472 runs in 11 innings across her career which could explain her surprise inclusion in the T20 squad.

A blow for the home side will be the injury to Diana Baig, so often the catalyst for Pakistan in all facets, she will leave a hole in the side that will be difficult to fill.

The return of Fatima Sana after injuring her ankle in the inaugural Women’s Caribbean Premier League, however, will be a huge boost. She missed the recent Asia Cup and should she come in with anything like her best form, should have a big impact in both formats.

Ireland:

Pakistan will be mindful of the danger the destructive Gaby Lewis poses – she struck a 41-ball 47 during the match between the two sides in July.

No doubt the home side will have seen how well Leah Paul plays alongside Lewis at the top of the order – the recent series against Netherlands showing the patience of the left-hander in the longer format, a series that saw Paul strike a record-breaking 137.

Orla Prendergast will be looking to continue her comeback to somewhere close to her best bowling after an injury during the summer. She did bowl in the recent ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier but with limited capacity and effectiveness. Her movement up the order with the bat is a boost to a team that continues to improve with every challenge sent their way.

All-rounder Louise Little and legspinner Celeste Raack will be hoping for an opportunity to show what they can do having been recalled after being left out of Ireland’s most recent squads.

The inclusion of Eimear Richardson, so rarely seen in Irish colours outside of world events, is a big boost to Ireland, while Georgina Dempsey misses out due to the workload of her final year in school.

Rebecca Stokell also comes back in to the 50-over squad while Rachel Delaney and Sophie MacMahon are included in the ODI and T20 squads respectively.

WATCH AND FOLLOW

Watch the games

The matches will all be livestreamed on the Pakistan Cricket Board’s Youtube Channel.

Former Pakistan women’s team captain Sana Mir and former women’s international player Marina Iqbal will be joined by Ali Younis, Andrew Leonard, Sikander Bakht and Shah Faisal as commentators for the upcoming women’s series between Pakistan and Ireland.

Follow the games
We will provide:
  • Livescoring: via Cricket Ireland’s Match Centre
  • Twitter score updates: via Cricket Ireland’s Twitter page
  • Match reports: via our Cricket Ireland website at the end of each day

THE SQUADS

SQUADS – IRELAND

The 15-player squads for the two formats are:

ODI squad: Laura Delany (capt), Rachel Delaney, Amy Hunter, Shauna Kavanagh, Arlene Kelly, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Jane Maguire, Cara Murray, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron.

T20I squad: Laura Delany (capt), Amy Hunter, Shauna Kavanagh, Arlene Kelly, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Sophie MacMahon, Jane Maguire, Cara Murray, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron.

SQUADS – PAKISTAN

ODI squad: Bismah Maroof (capt), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali (wk), Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz (wk) and Umm-e-Hani. Reserve players: Ayesha Naseem and Tuba Hassan

T20I squad: Bismah Maroof (capt), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Ayesha Naseem, Fatima Sana, Javeria Khan, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali (wk), Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Nashra Sandhu, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin and Tuba Hassan. Reserve players: Ghulam Fatima, Sidra Nawaz and Umm-e-Hani

THE SERIES DETAILS

TOUR FIXTURES

The Ireland squad will arrive in Lahore on 29 October and hold training sessions on 31 October to 3 November.

The fixtures will be:

  • 4 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 1st ODI (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; 9.30am start local time)*
  • 6 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 2nd ODI (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; 9.30am start local time)*
  • 9 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 3rd ODI (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; 9.30am start local time)*

  • 12 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 1st T20I (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; 10am start local time)
  • 14 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 2nd T20I (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; 10am start local time)
  • 16 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 3rd T20I (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; 10am start local time)

        * the ODIs are part of the ICC Women’s Championship

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