New Zealand women's team has announced a formidable squad for the upcoming white-ball series at home against Pakistan next month.
The series comprises three T20Is followed by three ODIs and serves as valuable preparation for the White Ferns ahead of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in Bangladesh next year.
The three-match T20I series is set to run from 3rd to 9th December in Dunedin and Queenstown, while the three ODIs, a part of the ICC Women’s Championship, will take place in Queenstown and Christchurch from 12th to 18th December.
Skipper Sophie Devine will once again lead the New Zealand team in all the matches. The team will rely on the experience of batters like Suzie Bates, pace spearhead Lea Tahuhu, and versatile all-rounder Amelia Kerr for solid support.
However, Kerr will miss the opening match of the series in Dunedin on December 3 as she is competing in the final of Australia's domestic WBBL competition.
Coach Ben Sawyer is hopeful that this series will provide his team with an excellent opportunity to refine their skills before the commencement of the 2024 T20 World Cup.
“We’re looking to build on the back of some good recent form in bilateral series but more importantly, continue to develop combinations with an eye to the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh next year," Sawyer said.
“From an ODI perspective, as well as continuing to develop our game plan, it’s extremely important that we look to get as many World Championship points as we can.”
Sawyer mentioned having observed Pakistan's recent matches and expressed admiration for the quality of their spin attack.
“Pakistan are match-ready having just come off an away series against Bangladesh,” Sawyer added.
“They have a strong spin attack, and a dangerous top order that puts a high value on their wicket, making them difficult to bowl to.”
New Zealand Squad: Sophie Devine (c), Kate Anderson, Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Eden Carson (T20I only), Izzy Gaze (ODI & 1st T20I), Maddy Green, Fran Jonas, Melie Kerr, Jess Kerr, Molly Penfold, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu
Meanwhile, the Pakistan women's team will depart from Christchurch tomorrow morning to Dunedin.
Since their arrival in Christchurch on Saturday, 25th November, the 17-member squad led by Nida Dar has participated in two practice sessions and played two practice matches against New Zealand XI. In the 50-over practice match at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln University on Tuesday, 28th November, Pakistan women’s team defeated New Zealand XI by 57 runs, with captain Nida securing four wickets and wicketkeeper-batter Najiha Alvi contributing a crucial 38 runs in the lower order.
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
First T20I: December 3, University of Otago Oval, Dunedin
Second T20I: December 5, University of Otago Oval, Dunedin
Third T20I: December 9, Sir John Davies Oval, Queenstown
First ODI: December 12, Sir John Davies Oval, Queenstown
Second ODI: December 15, Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Third ODI: December 18, Hagley Oval, Christchurch