The schedule for the practice matches ahead of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 was announced today with just over two months to go for the eight-team tournament which will be played in England and Wales from 24 June to 23 July.
The practice matches, which will be played at four different venues from 19-22 June, will give sides the chance to acclimatize to the conditions and also test the caliber of teams they will face later, since all teams play each other in a round-robin league during the pinnacle women’s tournament.
The four top teams from the ICC Women’s Championship 2014-16 – Australia, England, New Zealand and the West Indies, qualified directly for the tournament while the remaining four – India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan came through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 played in Colombo in February this year.
The tournament proper, consisting of 31 matches, will be played across five venues including Lord’s, which will host the final on 23 July.
In the practice matches, India will play New Zealand in Derbyshire while host England will take on Sri Lanka in Chesterfield on 19 June. Two days later, India will play Sri Lanka in Chesterfield and England will play New Zealand in Derbyshire.
South Africa and Pakistan will get some tough practice upfront as they are scheduled to play six-time winner Australia and last time’s runner-up as well as ICC World Twenty20 champion the West Indies in their warm-up matches.
Captains of different teams are enthusiastic about playing the two practice matches each, hoping to make use of them in final preparations and to adjust to the conditions in England and Wales.
Australia captain Meg Lanning said her team would make the most of the practice matches in its bid to defend the title while England captain Heather Knight indicated that the matches would help them perform to their best in front of home crowds.
Australia captain Meg Lanning: “We are really looking forward to what is shaping as one of the most tightly contested World Cups in recent times, with a number of teams capable of taking home the title. The practice matches will give us the opportunity to fine-tune our game and help get used to the conditions in England and Wales. We aim to make maximum use of these games in our final preparation for one of the biggest events on the cricketing calendar.”
England captain Heather Knight: “The warm-up matches ahead of the ICC Women’s World Cup are important for giving teams another chance to sort their preparations before the tournament proper. We’re very excited to be hosting the tournament and we’re looking forward to these two matches. We want to be at our best in front of our home crowd.”
India captain Mithali Raj: “We are eagerly awaiting the ICC Women’s World Cup, especially after our thrilling victory against South Africa in the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Colombo in February. The warm-up matches provide teams with the chance to iron out any deficiencies and we look forward to making maximum use of them.”
New Zealand captain Suzie Bates: “We are raring to go at the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 and look to use the practice matches in preparation for that. These matches will give us a good chance to practice ahead of the big tournament as well as the opportunity to adjust to the conditions.”
Pakistan captain Sana Mir: “The warm-up matches provide us with just the kind of chance one needs to fine-tune one’s game ahead of the ICC Women’s World Cup. We get to play last year’s finalists Australia and the West Indies in these matches and look forward to use the opportunity to prepare well for the tournament ahead.”
South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk: “We hope to use the practice matches in preparation for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 in the best way we can. Playing some tough practice matches will hold us in good stead ahead of the pinnacle women’s tournament.”
Sri Lanka captain Inoka Ranaweera: “We look forward to the warm-up matches with enthusiasm as they provide us with a final chance of preparation ahead of such a major event. We have been preparing well as a team and hope to do well at the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017”
West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor: “We are waiting eagerly for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 and these practice matches will be just the kind of preparation we need ahead of it. We know this is going to be a tough tournament but we have the confidence of the ICC World Twenty20 victory behind us and go into the World Cup with confidence.”
The practice match schedule:
19 June: New Zealand v India in Derbyshire; England v Sri Lanka in Chesterfield.
20 June: West Indies v Pakistan in Leicestershire; Australia v South Africa in Oakham.
21 June: England v New Zealand in Derbyshire; India v Sri Lanka in Chesterfield.
22 June: Australia v Pakistan in Leicestershire; West Indies v South Africa in Oakham.