Skipper Nida Dar is aiming for a winning start as Pakistan women’s team is playing touring South Africa women’s team in the first of the three-match T20I series starting at the historic National Bank Stadium in Karachi on Friday.
All-rounder Nida was appointed full-time captain of the side in April this year after Bismah Maroof stepped down following Pakistan’s participation in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa in February.
After the T20I series (1, 3 and 4 September), Pakistan and South Africa women’s sides will feature in three ODIs, which are part of the ICC Women’s Championship 2022-25 from 8 to 14 September.
All six matches will be broadcast live on PTV Sports/PTV National, while in Pakistan Region, they will be live-streamed on ARY ZAP.
The T20Is will begin at 7:30pm, while the ODIs will start at 3:30pm.
Also, to encourage fans to come to the ground, affordable tickets prices have been fixed for the six matches.
The tickets for the matches have been put on sale from Sunday, 27 August.
Additionally, physical tickets will be made available to fans on match days at the stadium’s box office.
All VIP enclosures of Fazal Mahmood, Hanif Mohammad and Javed Miandad will be open for spectators.
In one of the busiest international seasons for Pakistan women’s team, they are all set to play 15 ODIs (part of ICC Women’s Championship 2022-25), 17 T20Is, and participate in the 19th Asian Games from 1 September 2023 to 29 May 2024.
On the other hand, South Africa, who are embarking on their maiden tour to Pakistan will be led by Laura Wolvaardt.
She was given the reins of the touring side recently after Suné Luus led South Africa women’s team to the final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
Both Wolvaardt and Luus visited Pakistan before when they featured in women’s exhibition matches in Rawalpindi in March this year.
In the T20I format, the hosts are ranked seventh in the ICC Rankings, while South Africa are ranked fifth.
On a head-to-head basis, Pakistan and South Africa have played a total of 18 T20Is, three of which include matches in ICC events.
Out of the 15 T20Is part of bilateral series, South Africa have won eight, while the hosts have won seven.
The last time both sides featured in a T20I match was in Durban in 2021, where Pakistan defeated South Africa by eight runs on DLS.
While talking to PCB Digital on the eve of the series, Nida Dar said: “I am feeling really honoured to lead the Pakistan team as a full-time captain, and that too at home. The South Africa women’s side is here for the first time, so it’s going to be a great experience, and we are looking forward to the series.
“There is definitely a lot of cricket happening in Pakistan, with the Men’s Asia Cup also taking place. There’s a lot of cricket for the fans to witness and enjoy.
“The National Bank Stadium is a historic venue, and I have always dreamed of playing here against a very competitive side. I am very hopeful that the team will produce positive results here.
“We are fully focused on the game. We haven’t played international cricket in the recent past, but we kept ourselves fit through different skills camps and practice games. The team combination is really strong, and as a leader I am looking forward to achieving positive results for the team in the series.
“We have a very busy season coming up, so we have prepared ourselves well. The Asian Games are scheduled after the South Africa series, so this series will help us prepare well in the Asian Games. I expect us to perform well in the series, and we are geared up for the busy year ahead.
“Cricket is one sport, whether it’s men’s or women’s cricket, that is loved by fans across the country. I urge the fans to come to the stadium and support this game.”
Laura Wolvaardt said: “I am very excited to be here again in Pakistan. I had a great time before when I was here for the exhibition match and now I am looking forward to a memorable time.
“It’s our first-ever tour to Pakistan, so the training sessions ahead of the T20I series will be very important to help us understand the conditions here.
“This is going to be a big series, a closely contested one. Pakistan is a very competitive side, and Nida is a very good captain. They have very talented young players on their side, so we are up for a very good series.
“I will encourage the fans to come; it’s going to be exciting cricket matches in the evening, and definitely, people should come and support.”
Pakistan T20I squad:
Nida Dar (c), Aliya Riaz, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Muneeba Ali, Najiha Alvi (wk), Nashra Sundhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Shawaal Zulfiqar, Sidra Amin, Syeda Aroob Shah and Umm-e-Hani
Reserves – Anoosha Nasir, Omaima Sohail and Waheeda Akhtar
Player support personnel: Nahida Khan (manager), Mauhtashim Rashid (interim head coach), Kamran Hussain (bowling coach), Taufiq Umar (batting coach), Muhammad Asfand Yar (strength and conditioning coach), Zubair Ahmed (analyst), Rifat Asghar Gill (physiotherapist) and Syed Nazir Ahmed (media manager)
1 September – First T20I. Faisal Afridi and Rashid Riaz (on-field umpires), Tariq Rasheed (third umpire), Afia Amin (reserve umpire); Muhammad Javed Malik (match referee)
3 September – Second T20I. Rashid Riaz and Tariq Rasheed (on-field umpires), Faisal Afridi (third umpire), Afia Amin (reserve umpire); Muhammad Javed Malik (match referee)
4 September – Third T20I. Faisal Afridi and Tariq Rasheed (on-field umpires), Rashid Riaz (third umpire), Afia Amin (reserve umpire); Muhammad Javed Malik (match referee)