New Zealand and Sri Lanka have the chance to move as high as third in the ICC Women’s Championship table if it can sweep the series when they go head to head in round four of the ICC Women’s Championship, which starts in Lincoln on Tuesday.
A 3-0 series victory would elevate Suzie Bates’ side, which currently lies in sixth position on eight points, towards the top of the table and two points behind Australia and the West Indies. A 2-1 win would also improve the White Ferns’ position to third, four points behind the joint leaders.
In the event of a 3-0 away victory for seventh-ranked Sri Lanka, it would join third-placed South Africa on 11 points, while a 2-1 victory would see it rise join England on nine points.
The two sides have faced off on four occasions to date, with the White Ferns victorious on all four occasions, including their previous solitary clash in New Zealand.
The ICC Women’s Championship is a qualifying tournament for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 and 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 will play 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.
Looking ahead to the start of the series, New Zealand captain Suzie Bates said: “The team is excited to be back together for our first ever home series against Sri Lanka to kick off a busy summer.
“It is great to have experienced player Sara McGlashan back in the side after being unavailable for the recent Indian tour and we welcome Erin Birmingham, who was also unavailable. Two quality international cricketers with a lot of experience. Also the return of Liz Perry adds value with the bat and in the field.
“We have had a good winter of preparation and a number of players playing in the Australian league so we feel well prepared for this series coming off a winter.
“We know Sri Lanka will be new to our conditions, so we are hoping to start the series off strongly and stay on the front foot and take advantage of familiar conditions and surroundings. This is a vital series for the White Ferns ensuring we take away the crucial ICC Women’s Championships points and play well in the T20’s leading into the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in India next year.”
Sri Lanka skipper Shashikala Siriwardene said: “We are excited and this series is a very important bilateral series for us. The ICC Women’s Championship is already proving to be good initiative for the women’s cricket and the structure will see each team compete each other in a home and away series which is very important to all teams.
“This is a vital step to develop the women’s game and its standards around the world and this will be a good experience and exposure for the girls to play in these types of conditions before the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. We are aiming to win the series and get some points on the board in the ICC Women’s Championship.”
The White Ferns head into the series with the leading batters in the latest ICC Women’s ODI Player Rankings for Batters. Skipper Bates is in sixth place, five points behind India’s Mithali Raj, and the 28-year-old will be aiming to improve her ranking over the coming series. There are three other New Zealand batters inside the top 20; Sophie Devine (14th), Amy Satterthwaite (17th) and Rachel Priest (20th) with Sara McGlashan ranked in 41st position. The highest ranked batters in the Sri Lanka squad are skipper H.A.S.D. Siriwardene (38th), wicket-keeper Prasadani Weerakkody (65th) and Inoka Ranaweera (71st).
In the ICC Women’s ODI Player Rankings for Bowlers, Morna Nielsen (11th) is one of only two bowlers on either side ranked inside the top 20, and the left-arm swing bowler will be aiming to reduce Pakistan’s Sana Mir’s 24-point advantage and break into the top 10. Sri Lanka captain H.A.S.D. Siriwardene (in 19th position on 488 points) is just 10 points behind South Africa’s Marizanne Kapp. Other bowlers who are likely to feature in the series are; Lea Tahuhu (30th on 384 points), Bates (32nd), Sripali Weerakkody and Sophie Devine (joint 33rd). With just seven points separating these four players, movement is expected over the forthcoming series.
Stafanie Taylor of the West Indies continues to lead the all-rounders’ tables and the highest-ranked all-rounder heading into the series is fifth-placed Bates, who lies 26 points adrift of South Africa’s Dane van Niekerk.
New Zealand (from): Suzie Bates (captain), Erin Bermingham, Sophie Devine, Leigh Kasperek, Sara McGlashan, Morna Nielsen, Liz Perry, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest (wkt), Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu
Sri Lanka (from): Shashikala Siriwardene (captain), Chamari Atapattu, Nilakshi de Silva, Nipuni Hansika, Ama Kanchana, Achini Kulasuriya, Sugandika Kumari, Dilani Manodara, Chamari Polgampola, Hasini Perera, Inoka Ranaweera, Maduri Samuddika, Anushka Sanjeewani, Prasadani Weerakkody (wkt), Sripali Weerakkody
New Zealand v Sri Lanka
3 Nov – 1st ODI, Bert Sutcliffe, Lincoln*
5 Nov – 2nd ODI, Bert Sutcliffe, Lincoln*
7 Nov – 3rd ODI, Bert Sutcliffe, Lincoln*
10 Nov – 4th ODI, Bert Sutcliffe, Lincoln
13 Nov – 5th ODI, Hagley Oval, Christchurch
*Denotes ICC Women’s Championship fixture
|ICC Women’s Championship (as on 1 November 2015)|
Note – two points for a win, no point for a loss and one point for a no-result
ICC Women’s Team Rankings
(ahead of New Zealand-Sri Lanka series)
Ranking Team Points
1 Australia 134
2 England 124
3 New Zealand 109
4 India 105
5 West Indies 101
6 South Africa 92
7 Pakistan 81
8 Sri Lanka 74
9 Bangladesh 57
10 Ireland 26