ICC WOMEN’S T20 WORLD CUP: MISSION 2023

  • Shishir Bhattarai

Currently, social media is rife with the disappointment of Nepal cricket fans lamenting the lack of preparation and match exposure for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 qualifiers. The qualification tournaments are scheduled to be held in February and May 2022, whereas the World Cup will be held in Australia in late 2022. Meanwhile, the women’s national cricket team has already started its campaign for the qualification for ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, which is also scheduled to be held in South Africa in early 2023.

The Nepal women’s national team led by Rubina Chhetry has recently toured Bangladesh for three T20 matches against local teams. Nepal won the series 2-1 and has already landed in Doha, Qatar for three matches T20I series against the hosts. This will be the first-ever bilateral series for the Nepali women’s team, and also will be their first official match after almost 2 years.

Nepal last played an international match during the South Asian Games where Nepal won the bronze medal in front of the home crowd. The upcoming series will be the final preparation series for the team, ahead of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier, which will start in a week’s time in the UAE. Ahead of the crucial tournament, Nepali team coach Jagat Tamata would like to fill certain gaps and look for the areas for improvement in the series while hoping for a 3-0 win against the weaker side. Nepal is currently ranked 14th in ICC Women’s T20 team ranking whereas the home side is not ranked as they have not played sufficient matches to merit a place in the rankings. Qatar is also not part of the Asia Qualifier tournament.

After the conclusion of the T20I series against Qatar, the Nepali team will fly to UAE, hoping the mismanagement wouldn’t repeat like the one that occurred while returning from Bangladesh. The Asia Qualifiers will be a crucial tournament for the Nepal team, as it could lead Nepal to the Global Qualifier stage for the very first time. In absence of the traditionally strong Thailand, who have directly made their way to the Global Qualifier after qualifying for the premier tournament in 2020, the Nepal women’s team is considered to be the favorite to win the round-robin tournament.

The performance in the recent past and the ICC ranking table has merited them a ‘favorite’ tag. Apart from the host UAE, Nepal will be facing Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, and Bhutan. The hosts UAE will pose the biggest threat for Nepal. UAE is currently ranked 17th in the ICC ranking, whereas they finished third behind Thailand and Nepal in the last Asian region qualifier held in 2019. Previously, UAE blocked Nepal’s qualification to Global Qualifier for the 2018 edition when they finished second behind Thailand. Nepal finished third following two rain-affected matches against champions Thailand and Hong Kong and a loss against UAE. However, since then Nepal has defeated UAE on two successive occasions.Among other teams, Hong Kong is ranked 25th, Kuwait 34th, Malaysia 35th, and Bhutan is ranked 44th in the ICC ranking table.

The Nepal national side has been selected based on the performance of players in the Prime Minister’s Cup and Lalitpur Mayor’s Cup. The squad looks balanced and the fans are expecting a strong performance from this side.

After ICC granted T20I status to all its member nations in 2018, Nepal has played 14 Women’s T20Is, winning 11 matches. These include two wins each over the UAE Malaysia, and one each against Hong Kong and Kuwait, the participating teams. Of Nepal’s 3 losses two have come against Thailand and one against Bangladesh.

NEPAL’s SCHEDULE

– NEPAL vs QATAR T20I series :
16th November (Kartik 30),
17th November (Mangshir 1)
18th November (Mangshir2)

– ICC WOMEN’s T20 Asia Qualifier2021

o 22nd November (Mangshir 6) – Vs HongKong
o 23rd November (Mangshir 7) – VsBhutan
o 25th November (Mangshir 9) – VsKuwait
o 26th November (Mangshir 10) – VsMalaysia
o 28th November (Mangshir 12) – VsUAE.

NEPAL SQUAD: Rubina Chhetri (Captain), Sita Rana Magar, Karuna Bhandari, Indu Barma, Dolly Bhatta, Sarita Magar, Jyoti Pandey, Saraswati Chaudhary, Kajal Shrestha, Shabnam Rai, Kabita Kunwar, Apsari Begam, Kabita Joshi and Sangita Rai

Find Shishir Bhattarai on Twitter

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