Some of the best cricketers around the world will be in action as the Amazon and Super Women face each other in a 3-match series in the Women’s League Exhibition Matches. All three matches will be played at the Pindi Cricket Stadium. The first T20I will be held on March 8 while the next two are scheduled for March 10 and March 11.
10 international cricketers have been divided into two teams that also comprise 26 elite and emerging players from Pakistan. The matches will serve as a rehearsal for the Pakistan Women’s League which is tentatively planned for September. We should be seeing a lot of big names in action in the league.
The first of the three exhibition matches will be celebrating International Women’s Day. The second match will be used to spread awareness regarding breast cancer in collaboration with Pink Ribbon. The final match will be promoting women’s empowerment through education in collaboration with CIRCLE Women. The hashtag that is being used for the series is #LevelPlayingField, emphasizing gender equality in the sport.
The social media handles of Pakistan Cricket have uploaded several videos of current and former players talking about the importance of the exhibition matches.
READ MORE: WPL 2023: Know Your Team – Mumbai Indians
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Women’s League Exhibition Matches: Teams
Bismah Maroof, who recently stepped down as the captain of the national team will lead Amazons. Experienced all-rounder Nida Dar will be in charge of the Super Women. Each team will be able to field a maximum of four and a minimum of three foreign players. At least one U19 or emerging player must be included in the playing XI.
Bismah has the talented Aliya Riaz in her side alongside Ireland captain Laura Delany and English opener Danielle Wyatt among others. Nida has the in-form Laura Wolvaardt, experienced Chamari Athapaththu, and the impressive Lea Tahuhu in her ranks.
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Ireland captain Laura Delany, veteran England trio – Danni Wyatt, Maia Bouchier and Tammy Beaumont, and Australia’s Tess Flintoff are the international players who will play for the Amazons, while the foreign players in the Super Women squad are Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu, Lauren Winfield-Hill of England, Jahanara Alam of Bangladesh, South Africa’s Laura Wolvaardt and Lea Tahuhu of New Zealand as well.
Notably, Wolvaardt was the top-scorer at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 with 230 runs and is the sixth-ranked T20I batter in the world as well. She is followed by Athapaththu (11th), Wyatt (16th), Beaumont (44th) and Delany (61st). Amongst the bowlers, Tahuhu is the highest-ranked foreign bowler in eighth position, followed by Jahanara (60th).
Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt have hit three T20I centuries between them. Beaumont smashed the third-quickest T20I century off 47 balls while scoring 116 against South Africa in 2018. Wyatt hit the seventh and 12th quickest T20I centuries while scoring 100 (vs Australia) and 124 (vs India) in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
The 36 cricketers (26 local and 10 foreign players) have been equally divided into two teams as well with the playing line-ups to include a maximum of four and a minimum of three foreign players and a minimum of one emerging or U19 player as well.
Amazons captain Bismah Maroof: “I am super-excited for the upcoming matches as these will provide us with a unique and rare opportunity to enjoy the same experience as the men’s cricketers. We’ll share the same dressing room, play in front of good crowds and earn equal eyeballs through new and traditional media.
“The presence of foreign cricketers will especially provide our young and upcoming cricketers with a chance to learn from their experiences and knowledge, and incorporate these into their lifestyles, daily workouts and match preparations so that they can become better cricketers.
“Women’s cricket in Pakistan needed exactly this shot in the arm and I am confident these three matches followed by the league in September will accelerate the process of narrowing the gap with the top sides.”
Super Women captain Nida Dar: “I am over-joyed and can’t wait to take the field. I think these three exhibition games can define the future of Pakistan women’s cricket. The PCB has done its bit by arranging these matches and now the onus is on the players to make optimum use of this opportunity and show the world what we’re capable of.
“I see this as a great opportunity for the parents to bring their children and let them fall in love with cricket. You often don’t get the chance to see women and men playing competitive matches on the same day at the same venue. This is a rare opportunity and shouldn’t be missed.
“I welcome all the foreign players for three matches and I am confident as much as we will learn from their experience, they will also learn from us and will soon return with their national sides.”
Let’s take a look at the two squads:
Amazons – Bismah Maroof (captain), Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Areesha Noor, Danni Wyatt (England), Eyman Fatima, Fatima Khan, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Gull Feroza, Kainat Imtiaz, Laura Delany (Ireland), Maia Bouchier (England), Nashra Sundhu, Sadaf Shamas, Sidra Nawaz, Tammy Beaumont (England), and Tess Flintoff (Australia)
Super Women – Nida Dar (captain) Aimen Anwar, Chamari Athapaththu (Sri Lanka), Iram Javed, Jahanara Alam (Bangladesh), Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa), Lauren Winfield-Hill (England), Lea Tahuhu (New Zealand), Muneeba Ali, Natalia Parvaiz, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Shawaal Zulfiqar, Sidra Amin, Syeda Aroob Shah, Syeda Masooma Zahra, Tuba Hassan, and Umm-e-Hani
Women’s League Exhibition Matches Schedule:
8 Mar – 1st match, 2:30 pm IST, Pindi Cricket Stadium. Shozab Raza and Saleema Imtiaz (on-field umpires), Tariq Rasheed (third umpire) and Humaira Farah fourth umpire. Mohammad Anees (match referee)
10 Mar – 2nd match, 2:30 pm IST, Pindi Cricket Stadium. Shozab Raza and Humaira Farah (on-field umpires), Tariq Rasheed (third umpire) and Saleema Imtiaz (fourth umpire). Mohammad Anees (match referee)
11 Mar – 3rd match, 2:30 pm IST, Pindi Cricket Stadium. Tariq Rasheed and Saleema Imtiaz (on-field umpires), Shozab Raza (third umpire) and Humaira Farah (fourth umpire). Mohammad Anees (match referee)
Former Pakistan captains Sana Mir, Urooj Mumtaz and former international player Marina Iqbal, who are all part of the commentary panel for the HBL PSL 8, shared their excitement and happiness on the hosting of the women’s exhibition matches in Rawalpindi as well.
Marina Iqbal, who played for Pakistan in 78 matches, said: “The hosting of exhibition matches is a step forward in the growth of women’s cricket. The matches provide a huge opportunity to the emerging players to share the dressing room with international stars. When we used to play, we always looked forward to such opportunities, meeting with the stars, interacting with them and asking them about their skills and fitness.
“It is an opportunity for budding cricketers to play alongside top cricketers, learn from them, compete with them and also see where they stand in the game.”
Sana Mir, who played for Pakistan in 226 international matches, said: “I am really excited as this is the first time exhibition matches are taking place for the women’s league. This will provide an opportunity to the women cricketers to come forward and showcase their skills.
“These exhibition matches are very important for the local players to know and understand the requirements of the modern day cricket, what international players are doing, how they can improve their skill-set and how they can perform in the pressure situations.
“The league at home will not only help players to improve their game, but it also gives them a chance to get selected in foreign leagues.”
Urooj Mumtaz, who represented Pakistan in 48 international matches from 2004 to 2010, said: “These exhibition matches taking place alongside HBL PSL 8 is a huge thing, it will increase the viewership and attracts the younger audience to come forward and adopt this game, boosting women’s cricket.
“The cricketers playing in the league have a great opportunity to inspire young women not just pick this game but pick up any other sport because cricket is playing a huge role for other sports in Pakistan.
“I will urge the people in Pindi to come and support women’s cricket and enjoy the level of women’s cricket which has gone up in this country after a time.