KARACHI: While Pakistan men’s team sweat over their progress to the Super-Eights of the ICC World Twenty20, their women counterparts will kick off their campaign against Sri Lanka Women hoping to break their duck in the tournament.
Having lost all three matches last year, Pakistan’s only success in Twenty20 internationals is against Ireland - having beaten them twice in a warmup series prior to the 2009 event. Much was expected from the team after their progress to the second round of the 50-over World Cup in Australia, including a shock win over West Indies, but a poor batting display resulted in the team being dumped out at the first hurdle in Taunton.
Having played no international cricket since, Pakistan overpowered West Indies in their first warm-up before being thrashed by holders England. The batting remains a worry yet again and scores of 104, 75 and 60 in last year’s event hampered the team’s chance of progress. The team underwent a gruelling routine in Karachi prior to their departure to the West Indies that included practice matches against boys’ academy teams which, according to captain Sana Mir, will prove useful when stacked up against the stronger nations.
“Obviously having not played international cricket for such a long time does hamper our chances in the tournament but there is not much we can do about it now,” Mir told The Express Tribune prior to the team’s departure. “Our girls weren’t physically strong last year and we weren’t able to clear the rope which is one of the reasons why we were bowled out for low totals. “However, having played against a physically stronger opposition in the training camp, I feel that our team will be able to perform much better than last year.”
While the team management is aiming for a semifinal spot, much will depend on how the team performs in their opening match against the opponents they lost to in their opening match of the 2009 World Twenty20 in England. Pakistan take on arch-rivals India in their second match on Saturday before playing New Zealand in their final group match two days later with the top two teams from each group going through to the semi-finals of the tournament.