Salma hopeful of good show

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Bangladesh launch their ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers campaign when they take on one of the tournament favourites Pakistan in one of the opening matches at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.

The match starts at 9:30 am local time. In the other opening day matches South Africa face Sri Lanka at the Fatullah Stadium in a clash between two of the tournament favourites, Netherlands take on Zimbabwe at BKSP 2 and Ireland take on West Indies at BKSP 3.

Pakistan are expected to win the opening encounter against the hosts but the

The Bangladeshi captain Salma Khatun however is hopeful of giving Pakistan a good fight.

“We played five matches previously against them (Pakistan) where we lost four but won one, and we look to make a turnaround banking on that win,” Salma said.

Bangladesh will need to win at least two out of their four group stage matches to advance to the next round — the super sixes which will ensure Bangladesh achieve ODI status. The Bangladeshi skipper also looks to take the tournament match by match rather than looking too far ahead.

“Our main target is to reach the super sixes first. From there we will try and see how far we can go,” Salma added.

The main concern for the Bangladesh team is their batting; the hosts were dismissed for less than 150 in both their warm up matches against Sri Lanka but they will bank on their spin attack to do most of the damage and hopefully keep the opposition down to a gettable target. The opening partnership has been of notable concern and there might be a change or two in the batting line-up if the batting continues to misfire.

Salma Khatun though is not willing to take too much pressure onto herself surrounding the hype around the tournament and the expectations that come from being hosts and is rather looking to turn it into a positive and show the world how much women’s cricket in Bangladesh has progressed via the team’s and her own performances in the tournament.

Pakistani captain Sana Mir expects plenty of crowd support for both the teams during the games.

“We came to play here three years ago and the crowd was amazing. We know we will be playing at the Sher-e-Bangla, we hope that after this match we get the same support from the people here again, just like the home team,” Mir said.

Pakistan will start the match on the back of some good form with plenty of cricket under their belts since they won gold in the Asian Games in 2010.

“We played a series with Nepal after the Asian Games. Then we went to Sri Lanka for a quadrangular one day series. From there we went to the West Indies recently to play a T20 and an ODI series,” she added.

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