LAHORE    -     Pakistan women cricket team will be in action at the home of Pakistan cricket for the first time in history, when they will face Bangladesh women in the first T20 of a three-match T20 series here today (Saturday) at Gaddafi Stadium.

The two teams meet in the shortest format for the second time in 13 months after Bangladesh hosted Pakistan in a four-match T20 series in October last year, which Pakistan won 3-0. The upcoming series also serves a perfect opportunity to the hosts to test their bench strength with their mainstay Nida Dar in Australia for the Women Big Bash League, while their most experienced campaigner Sana Mir unavailable for the series opener.

The T20 series is part of Bangladesh women’s 10-day tour in which they will also play two one-day internationals against Pakistan at the same venue. With Pakistan slated to host world champions England in the ICC Women’s Championship in Malaysia in December, these matches serve an opportunity to get their permutations and combinations right. In line with its policy to develop and promote women’s cricket, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will live-stream the tour on its YouTube channel.

Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof said: “We are coming from a 10-day camp in which we put great emphasis on our fielding. Our bowlers worked on bettering different variations and the batters are looking in good form. We are well-aware of the challenge that the Bangladesh present and this will surely be an exciting series.

“This series is the season-opener for us and we want to start off on a winning note as it will help us in building the momentum ahead of the England and West Indies series. With our key player Nida Dar unavailable for this series and Sana Mir joining the side from the second T20, we have inducted some youngsters in the squad. So there’s an opportunity for them to grab the opportunity and leave a mark ahead of what promises to be an exciting season.

“This is for the first time, we will be playing in Lahore and the girls are pretty charged up. We look forward to playing in Lahore and expect the fans to fill up the stadia to support women’s cricket,” said the home captain.

Bangladesh T20I captain Salma Khatun said: “We are very much looking forward to the series against a strong Pakistan side, who will be particularly tough in home conditions. It is nice to be back. Pakistan are a familiar opponent for us and we have had some pretty exciting matches over the years. Our side thrives on team spirit. A nice balance has developed in our game and I am confident that we will be very competitive in the series.”

SQUADS:

PAKISTAN: Bismah Maroof (capt), Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Iram Javed, Javeria Khan, Kainat Imtiaz, Nahida Khan, Omaima Sohail, Saba Nazir, Sadia Iqbal, Sana Mir, Sidra Amin and Sidra Nawaz.

BANGLADESH: Salma Khatun (capt), Ayesha Rahman, Ekka Mollik, Fargana Hoque, Jahanara Alam, Khadija Tul Kubra, Lata Mondal, Nigar Sultana, Panna Ghosh, Rumana Ahmed, Sanjida Islam, Shamima Sultana, Shanjida Akther Maghla, Sharmin Akhter and Sharmin Sultana.