· Top four sides from the Super Six stage will progress to the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 which will be staged in the UK from 26 June to 23 July
· India heads Group A which also includes Sri Lanka, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Thailand; South Africa leads Group B which comprises Pakistan, Bangladesh, Scotland and PNG
· Holly Colvin says Colombo event presents the sides last opportunity to qualify for the ultimate event in women’s cricket
With 50 days to go for the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017, the ICC has announced the event schedule which brings together 10 sides in their quest to claim four remaining places in the event proper.
The tournament will run from 7-21 February at four Colombo venues and the sides finishing in the top four of the Super Six stage will join defending champion Australia, host England, former winner New Zealand and reigning ICC World Twenty20 champion West Indies in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 from 26 June to 23 July.
Asian champions and former World Cup finalists India leads Group A which also includes Sri Lanka, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Thailand, while South Africa heads Group B which comprises Pakistan, Bangladesh, Scotland and Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Each side will play four matches in the first round, following which the top three sides from each group will progress to the Super Six stage, while also carrying forward points they earn against sides which have progressed to the Super Six stage from their group.
The top four sides from the Super Six stage, in which each side will play three matches against teams from the other group, will complete the eight-team line-up for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, while the top two sides will battle out for the title in the 21 February final.
Holly Colvin, ICC’s Women’s Cricket Officer and a World Cup winner with England in 2009, said: “This is an extremely important event on the women’s cricket calendar as it offers a final opportunity to the sides to qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup, which is the ultimate event for any cricketer.
“The top four sides from the Super Six stage will not only qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, but they will also secure places in the next edition of the ICC Women’s Championship. There is incentive for the remaining two sides from the Super Six stage, which will secure ODI status for the next four years. As such, there is plenty to play for in Colombo.
“The ICC World Twenty20 in India and the ICC Women’s Championship have shown that the gap between the top-ranked sides is narrowing. The ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier will create more opportunities for women’s cricketers to compete at the highest level and at the same time prepare for a high profile event like the ICC Women’s World Cup.”
Group A – India, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Thailand
Group B – South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Scotland and Papua New Guinea
Sunday, 5 February – India v South Africa, P.Sara Stadium; Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Mercantile Cricket Association
(MCA); Ireland v Bangladesh, Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC); Zimbabwe v Scotland, Colombo Cricket Club
(CCC); Thailand v PNG, Moors Sports Club.
Tournament fixtures (first round)
Tuesday, 7 February – Sri Lanka v India, P.Sara Stadium; Ireland v Zimbabwe, MCA; South Africa v Pakistan, NCC; Zimbabwe v Scotland, CCC
Wednesday, 8 February – Pakistan v Bangladesh, P.Sara Stadium; Scotland v South Africa, MCA; Sri Lanka v Ireland, NCC; India v Thailand, CCC
Friday, 10 February – India v Ireland, P.Sara Stadium; Thailand v Zimbabwe, MCA
Saturday, 11 February – South Africa v Bangladesh, P.Sara Stadium; Scotland v PNG, MCA; Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, NCC; Ireland v Thailand, CCC
Monday, 13 February – Zimbabwe v India, P.Sara Stadium; Sri Lanka v Thailand, MCA; South Africa v PNG, NCC; Pakistan v Scotland, CCC
Super Six stage (teams to be confirmed after 13 February matches)
Wednesday, 15 February – Match 21, P.Sara Stadium; Match 22, NCC; Match 23, CCC
Friday, 17 February – Match 24, P.Sara Stadium; Match 25, NCC; Match 26, CCC
Sunday, 19 February – Match 27, P.Sara Stadium; Match 28, NCC; Match 29, CCC
Tuesday, 21 February – FINAL
About the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017
· The Women’s World Cup 2017 will get underway on 26 June and culminate with the final at Lord’s on 23 July. Bristol and Derby will host the two semi-finals, while Leicester and Taunton are the other two venues
· Australia, England, New Zealand and the West Indies have qualified automatically after finishing in the top four of the ICC Women’s Championship
· The tournament will be played on a single-league format with all the eight sides playing against each other once. The top four sides will progress to the semi-finals
· A total of 31 matches will be played, including the two semi-finals and the final
· England has twice staged the ICC Women’s World Cup – the inaugural edition in 1973 and then in 1993. Both the times, England won the tournament. England’s third title was in Sydney, Australia, in 2009
· Australia will defend the title it won in India in 2013. Australia has also won in 1978, 1982, 1988, 1997 and 2005. New Zealand is the other side to win the event when it lifted the most prestigious trophy in women’s cricket in its backyard in 2000
· This will be the third time the event will be organised by the ICC since its merger with the International Women’s Cricket Council in 2005