West Indies have a chance to join Australia at the top of the ICC Women’s Championship table if they can blank Pakistan when they go head to head in round four of the ICC Women’s Championship, which starts in St. Lucia on Friday.
A 3-0 series victory would elevate Stafanie Taylor’s side, which currently are a point clear of England in third position, to the top of the table. A 2-1 win for the hosts would also see it progress and leapfrog second-placed South Africa, and in that scenario Sana Mir’s team would also move up to fourth place.
In the event of a 3-0 away victory for Pakistan, it would move into second place on 14 points.
In all, the sides will play four ODI’s in St. Lucia, with the opening game on Friday the only clash that will not count towards the ICC Women’s Championship, which is a qualifying tournament for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, which is being participated in by Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies.
The top four sides from the ICC Women’s Championship will gain automatic qualification for the event proper which is to be staged in England, while the bottom four sides will get a final chance of qualification through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in 2017. The tournament structure sees each team playing each other in one home or away series that will include three ODIs over a two and a half year period. As such, each side is guaranteed at least 21 ODIs over the tournament period.
In welcoming Pakistan to the Caribbean ahead of the start of the series, West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor also outlined her side’s ambitions to progress up the rankings.
“I would like to welcome Pakistan to the West Indies and we are extremely excited as we look forward with anticipation to this upcoming series,” she said.
“The ICC Women’s Championship has been an excellent initiative and it has given the top eight countries an opportunity to participate against each other. I know this series will be competitive. Ultimately our aim is to move up the rankings and as such we plan to dominate at home, thereby achieving a clean sweep,” Taylor said.
Pakistan captain Sana Mir added: “We know that the West Indies will be difficult opponents, but we travel with confidence and we’re keen to get some points to enable us to move up the ICC Women’s Championship table. We have a good blend of youth and experience and it will be a superb challenge for our younger players, especially in conditions which are a whole lot different than what we are used to.
“The West Indies are a strong side with some outstanding individuals right across their team. You only need to look at their standing in the rankings to see that. So it will be a good Test and one we’re indeed excited about it.”
Squads: West Indies (from): Stafanie Taylor (captain), Merissa Aguilleira, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Stacy-Ann King, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Shakera Selman, Tremayne Smartt
Pakistan (from): Sana Mir (captain), Nain Abidi, Anam Amin, Sidra Amin, Diana Baig, Nida Dar, Asmavia Iqbal, Marina Iqbal, Sania Iqbal, Iram Javed, Bismah Maroof, Aliya Riaz, Rabiya Shah, Sumaiya Siddiqui, Javeria Wadood, Ayesha Zafar.