ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier Gets Underway
The qualifying tournament for the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2014 in Ireland is set to get underway with eight teams battling for three places at next year's main event.
The hosts are joined by Canada, Japan, Pakistan, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Zimbabwe and the opening match of the tournament sees Ireland take on Japan.
"We have had some good preparation starting off with winter training at the beginning of the year in the indoor training facility focusing on Twenty20 cricket," Ireland captain Isobel Joyce said.
"Then leading into this tournament we have been playing lots of cricket and most recently against Pakistan.
"We are excited to play at home, it is growing as a game in the country and that’s a great thing for us, younger girls as well as boys can now see their team playing."
Sri Lanka open their campaign against Canada having missed out on direct qualification when they met India in last year's tournament in Sri Lanka. Captain Shashikala Siriwardene is hopeful they can make it second time lucky.
"It is really important to play in the next ICC World Twenty20, first up will be Canada we will do our best to get off to a good start and look to build momentum to take through the tournament," she said.
Pakistan, led by Sana Mir, also missed out on qualification when they were beaten by South Africa and Mir says: "We have been in Europe for the past month playing against England, Ireland and against domestic teams, so I feel we are very well prepared.
"Thailand are a very good team, we will try to bring our best performance onto the field and get a good start."
Other selected quotes from the captains:
Mikaela Turik, Canada captain: "We had a series against Scotland and Thailand to prepare us for the conditions here in Ireland.
Against Sri Lanka we are the underdog, but we are going to take every ball as it comes and hopefully get a good result."
Denise Hannema, Netherlands captain: "It’s been a hectic year including the ECB 50 Over matches and we have played a few Twenty20 warm ups.
"We will look at the opening match against Zimbabwe as any other game, play as best we can, we are looking forward to it."
Sornnarin Tippoch, Thailand captain: "It is a great opportunity for us to be here, we’ve been working really hard for the past 6 months.
"We are very excited to play Pakistan in the first match, we have played them before and gained good experience we can take into the game."
Ashley Burdette, Zimbabwe captain: "We got to play against South Africa before this event and learnt a lot from them, we can hopefully take a lot from that experience.
"Netherlands are a strong team and we will need to play our best cricket against them."
Mariko Yamamoto, Japan captain: "We have focused on our game and we are pleased with the way have prepared.
"Facing the hosts tomorrow we will look to take improvements into that match and get a good result."
© Cricket World 2013
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3rd/4th: Ireland v Netherlands
Shield: Thailand v Zimbabwe
7th/8th: Canada v Japan