Rawalpindi, 7 March 2023: All roads will lead to the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Wednesday afternoon when the Amazons will square off against the Super Women in first of the three Women’s League exhibition matches. The first ball will be bowled at 2pm and will be followed by the HBL PSL 8 fixture between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators, which will start at 7pm.
Pakistan’s 26 elite and emerging women cricketers will be joined by 10 international stars from seven countries in the extravaganza. Two women’s umpires, Humaira Farah and Saleema Imtiaz, will share on-field umpiring responsibilities with Shozab Raza and Tariq Rasheed. With world’s leading sport networks to live broadcast the matches, which will also be live-streamed on the PCB and HBL PSL YouTube Channels, this makes the three-match series the first of its kind women’s cricket spectacle in Pakistan to date.
The matches are a soft launch of the Pakistan Women’s League, which is tentatively planned in September. The four-team competition is expected to be held on a single-league basis. A number of high-profile foreign players, some of whom are already in Pakistan, have already expressed their interest in participating in the league.
The PCB will use Wednesday’s match to celebrate the International Women’s Day. The second match on Friday will be used to spread awareness about breast cancer in collaboration with Pink Ribbon. The third and final match on Saturday will be to promote women’s empowerment through education in collaboration with CIRCLE Women.
Pakistan’s most successful women’s captain Bismah Maroof will lead the Amazons, while Nida Dar, who has the most T20I wickets (126), will captain the Super Women.
Ireland captain Laura Delany, England’s trio of Danni Wyatt, Maia Bouchier and Tammy Beaumont, and Australia’s Tess Flintoff are the international stars in 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.
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. 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).
Beaumont and Wyatt have hit three T20I centuries between them. Beaumont hit the third quickest T20I century off 47 balls while scoring 116 against South Africa in 2018. Wyatt struck the seventh and 12th quickest T20I centuries while scoring 100 (vs Australia) and 124 (vs India) in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Pakistan’s high-ranked players in the field are Bismah Maroof (33rd), Nida Dar (38th), Aliya Riaz (56th) (all batters); Sadia Iqbal (19th), Nida Dar (21st), Nashra Sundhu (26th), Anam Amin (37th) and Tuba Hassan (39th) (all bowlers).
Pakistan’s batting sensation Muneeba Ali will also be in action in the three matches. The 25-year-old left-handed bespectacled wicketkeeper/batter made international headlines when she scored 102 against Ireland in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023. This was the only century of the competition, and sixth overall since the inception of the tournament in 2009.
Apart from Nida Dar, two Pakistan women cricketers, who have been adjudged ICC Women’s Player of the Month, will show their skills in front of home crowds. They are Sidra Amin and Tuba Hassan.
The 36 cricketers (26 local and 10 foreign players) have been equally divided into two sides with the playing line-ups to include a maximum of four and minimum of three foreign players and a minimum of one emerging or U19 player.
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.”
Squads (to be selected from):
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)
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
8 Mar – 1st match, 2pm, 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, 2pm, 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, 2pm, Pindi Cricket Stadium. Tariq Rasheed and Saleema Imtiaz (on-field umpires), Shozab Raza (third umpire) and Humaira Farah (fourth umpire). Mohammad Anees (match referee)