ISLAMABAD: Pakistan women’s team are all set to take on New Zealand in their own backyard when both sides meet in the first of a three-match Twnety20 International (T20I) series at the University of Otago Oval in Dunedin on Sunday.
Since arriving in New Zealand on November 25, Pakistan women’s team had a couple of training sessions and practice games in Christchurch before traveling to Dunedin on Friday afternoon. The team had a three-hour training session under the supervision of coaching staff at the University of Otago Oval on Saturday.
New Zealand, at present, maintain a 100 percent winning record against Pakistan women in eight head-to-head outings, but Pakistan Captain Nida Dar says she has faith in her teammates that they can perform well in the series.
"New Zealand are known for their cricketing excellence, and we respect that. However, we are here to compete, and I have faith in the players who can do good for the team in the series," she said in a statement shared by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
"We see the forthcoming T20I series as an opportunity for our players to perform against one of the most formidable sides in the world. We are looking ahead to next year’s T20 World Cup, and with a minimum of nine T20Is to be played before the mega event, the series against New Zealand provides us with a chance to work on the combination of the team for next year’s event."
Pakistan left-arm spinners Nashra Sundhu and Sadia Iqbal are positioned at the fifth and seventh spots, respectively, in the ICC Women’s T20I rankings and are looking forward to performing well for the team in the upcoming series. Nashra is one match shy of completing 50 T20I appearances for Pakistan. In the all-rounder category, Dar is placed on the fifth position in the ICC T20I rankings.
Dar said the series against New Zealand would allow them to assess their strengths and areas of improvement. "It’s a valuable experience, and I am sure the players have now got a good idea of the conditions here after playing practice matches and also undergoing training sessions," she added.
The second T20I will also be staged at the same venue on Tuesday, while the third T20I will be played at the Sir John Davies Oval in Queenstown on December 9.
At the conclusion of T20I series, both sides are scheduled to play three one-day internationals (ODIs) — part of the ICC Women’s Championship — from December 12 to December 18 in Queenstown and Christchurch.
Nida Dar (captain), Aliya Riaz, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Muneeba Ali (wk), Najiha Alvi (wk), Nashra Sundhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Omaima Sohail, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Shawaal Zulfiqar, Sidra Amin, Umm-e-Hani and Waheeda Akhtar