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Bismah Maroof confident of Pak's success against SA


ANI Cricket
Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof expressed confidence that her side will win the three ICC Women's Championship ODIs and five T20Is against South Africa, beginning May 6.
"We have worked hard in the (two-week) training camp, which has been a great success since we spent considerable time on our all-round (batting and bowling) skills," Bismah said.
The 27-year-old further said that the main target, both for her and the team management led by head coach Mark Coles, is winning the ODI series and improving the team's chances of securing a direct berth in the ICC Women's World Cup 2021, which will be held in New Zealand.
The host and top four placed sides in the point table will gain direct qualification for the World Cup. Pakistan are currently ranked sixth with 12 points from as many matches, while South Africa are placed a spot above with 13 points.
Bismah felt the standings of the two teams will make the series even more competitive.
"Both South Africa and Pakistan are going to fight hard for the ICC Women's Championship points. They currently have a one-point advantage over us, which we can overcome by winning the series. Both teams are evenly matched and the point table situation will make the series even more exciting," she said.
Pakistan captain, who is considered as one of the batting mainstays in the line-up, felt her side had gained great momentum by winning their first-ever ODI series against West Indies in the UAE.
"Other than Diana Baig, who suffered an unfortunate injury at the start of the camp, the core of the team that beat West Indies has been retained. The team management and I have a lot of confidence in the proven abilities of Sana Mir, Nida Dar, Sidra Amin, Javeria Khan, Nashra Sandhu and Aliya Riaz, who have done very well for us in the recent past," she said.
"The other squad members are also equally capable. Newcomer Fatima Sana, who has replaced Diana in the side, has also shown a lot of promise at the camp, which is another heartening sign," she added.
Although Pakistan's focus will be on ODI series, Bismah and her team will also seek improvement in their T20I performance after losing a closely fought three-match series against West Indies held in Karachi, earlier this year.
"The T20I series is, of course, also important to us keeping in mind the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Australia 2020. Five matches against a formidable side like South Africa gives us the opportunity of providing more exposure to our players as we develop our team for the Australian conditions," she said.
"The pitches in South Africa will almost be similar to what we will confront in Australia; hence, playing a five-match T20I series is a huge boost for us," Bismah said.
If Bismah features in all the five T20Is, then the last match of the series on May 23 will become her 100th T20I match, making her the second Pakistan player after Sana Mir and overall sixth to achieve the milestone. Other players with 100 or more T20I games under their belts include New Zealand's Suzie Bates (111), West Indies' Deandra Dottin (110), England's Jenny Gunn (104), West Indies' Anisa Mohammed (102) and Australia's Ellyse Perry (102).
Pakistan will tour South Africa to play three ODIs from May 6 to 12, followed by five-match T20I series from May 15 to 23.

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First Published: Apr 29 2019 | 9:48 AM IST

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