BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
THE Zimbabwe national women’s cricket team will have an opportunity to finalise their preparations for the 10-team women’s One Day International (ODI) World Cup Qualifier when they take on Bangladesh in a three-match ODI series at Queens Sports Club starting on Wednesday.
After Wednesday’s opening match, the two teams will meet again in two other matches on Friday and November 15.
The bilateral series will be Zimbabwe’s first international assignment since hosting Ireland for their first official ODI series at Harare Sports Club last month which the Mary-Anne Musonda-captained side lost 3-1.
More importantly, it will offer Zimbabwe coach Adam Chifo and his technical department, one final opportunity to assess their team’s level of preparedness before the team enters the bio bubble for the World Cup Qualifier which gets underway on November 21.
Although Bangladesh will be playing in their first international assignment since the T20 World Cup held in Australia in February-March last year, the eighth ranked subcontinent nation are expected to provide a stern test which the Lady Chevrons desperately need ahead of the tournament proper.
“Bangladesh marks the end of our preparations going to the big tournament so obviously we will be looking to fine-tune preparations against them. We are very grateful to be playing against Bangladesh because we know that they are quite an experienced side,” Chifo said ahead of the series.
“They have played a lot of international cricket. They have been to the World Cup before, so we stand to learn a lot from them going to the qualifiers.”
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The Bangladesh series will also mark the return of former captain Sharne Mayers to the squad after a three year absence.
Mayers will be a valuable addition to the team’s batting department after a successful spell in South Africa, where she has been starring for the Imperial Lions.
After the Bangladesh series, Zimbabwe will shift their focus to the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier which will be played at four separate venues — Takashinga Cricket Club, Harare Sports Club, Sunrise Cricket Club and Old Hararians — from November 21 to December 5.
Zimbabwe are in Group B together with Pakistan, Bangladesh, the United States and Thailand, whom they will open their campaign with on November 21 at Harare Sports Club. Group A features West Indies, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Papua New Guinea and Netherlands.
Three top teams from 10-team qualifying rounds, will earn the right to play in the eight-team final round along with former champions Australia, England, South Africa, India and host New Zealand.
The eight-team final round of the Women’s World Cup will be held in New Zealand next year from March 4 to April 3 2021.