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All you need to know about the 2018 Women's T20 Asia Cup

Aditya Joshi
ANALYST
Feature
2.30K   //    01 Jun 2018, 18:17 IST

ICC 2016 Women's World Cup Asia Qualifier - Thailand vs Hong Kong
Thailand
are
one of the newer, yet ambitious participants this year

The tournament will be contested between Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.[With the ever heightening popularity of women's cricket after years of uncertainty about the viewership aspect of it, the 2018 edition of Women's Asia Cup comes at the perfect time, right after the Trailblazers vs Supernovas prologue to the IPL qualifier. After the Women's World Cup being the breakout event in terms of interest generated and the pinnacles of competitiveness achieved by it, the WBBL 2017/18 too grew out of the shadow of the men's tournament, now is the time for the women's variant of the Asia Cup.

Organized by the Asian Cricket Council, this will be the seventh edition of the tournament and the third edition played as the shortest format of the game. The tournament will comprise the nations of Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The teams will play one iteration of a round-robin league stage after which, the top two placed teams will move to the finals and contest for the trophy. The matches will be played on two cricket grounds from June 3 to June 10, alternating between Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur and Royal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur, with the final scheduled to played at the former.

Among the squad news, Sri Lanka have suffered massive blows with their captain Chamari Athapaththu being ruled out along with bowling all-rounder Ama Kanchana, both of them being down with dengue. Athapaththu, who scored a scintillating 178 in vain in the World Cup against a formidable Australian attack last year, will have her absence particularly felt on the squad.

Pakistan have made a few changes to the squad with the quartet of idra Ameen, Aiman Anwar, Fareeha Mahmood and Ghulam Fathima missing out on selection and making way for Anam Amin and Javeria Rauf who return to the squad, with the inclusion of the fresh face Omama Sohail and Nain Abidi who is making a comeback to cricket after a brief hiatus caused by her moving to USA.

Bangladesh are coming into this tournament on the back of a horror run on their tour of South Africa where they were blanked 5-0 and 3-0 in a string of hopeless performances in the ODIs and the T20s respectively. They will be itching to make a mark and emulate the men's side, who have come into a groove of their own in the recent ICC events.

Winifred Anne Duraisingam will lead the hosts and Charismatic Sornarin leads Thailand in a bid to cause an upset or two along their way. The up and coming duo of Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana are the helm of the Indian squad, both of whom showed promising signs in India's last series against England Women at home.

Although India go into the tournament as favorites, the tag might play on their minds and it will be interesting to see both the aspects of that happening: how India cope with the pressure of expectation and how the others exploit it and use it to their advantage.

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