3rd ODI between England Women and New Zealand Women likely to be played despite bomb threat

A five-match ODI series with the England Women and New Zealand Women is already underway with England leading 2-0.
A five-match ODI series with the England Women and New Zealand Women is already underway with England leading 2-0.

The third ODI of the five-match series between England Women and New Zealand Women on Tuesday is set to go ahead in Leicester despite a bomb threat made against the White Ferns, according to ESPNcricinfo.

Reports of the security threat came after the England men's team confirmed that they will be opting out of their tour to Pakistan, a couple of days after the New Zealand men's team abandoned their series against the Asian giants at the last minute.

ESPNcricinfo's statement about the bomb threat at the New Zealand team hotel read:

"ESPNcricinfo understands that a member of the New Zealand team management was contacted and told that a bomb would be placed at the team hotel. It is understood they were also warned of an attempt to place a bomb on their plane when they return to New Zealand."

While the timing of these reports might not go down well with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), it is understood that the third ODI between England Women and New Zealand Women will likely go ahead as scheduled.

Ahead of the game, the White Ferns' training schedule had to be canceled and the entire team were asked to go into lockdown on Monday, as police and counter-terrorism agencies had their tasks cut out.

However, it is understood that the authorities are satisfied with the security and termed the threats as "not credible". Understandably, the New Zealand players might be trepidatious to continue the tour but as for now, the match is deemed to go ahead. However, the possibility of the game being called off still looms large, considering the recent action taken by both England and New Zealand authorities with regards to their respective tours to Pakistan.

New Zealand and England recently called off their tours to Pakistan due to security threats

New Zealand were already in Pakistan for their white-ball tour, featuring three ODIs and five T20Is. However, the entire tour was called off rather abruptly on the grounds of a security threat.

Neither team left their hotel on the morning of the first ODI, and spectators were not allowed to enter the stadium either. The entire tour was eventually called off without a ball being bowled.

The rumourmill was finally brought to a halt when New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed that they were indeed abandoning the tour. The NZC statement read:

"Following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the BLACKCAPS will not continue with the tour."

NZC chief executive David White was sympathetic towards the PCB, understanding that it would be a big blow for them but made it clear that the safety of their players was paramount for them.

The PCB's newly-appointed chairman, Ramiz Raja, was certainly not pleased with the late backing out by the Blackcaps and took to Twitter to express his displeasure.

While quite a few players from around the globe backed Pakistan's claim to be a safe country for tours and even offered to plan out tours to visit the sub-continent side, it was perhaps no surprise to see England soon follow suit and call off their tour as well.

The England men's and women's teams were set to visit Pakistan before the T20 World Cup but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed that they have decided to withdraw from both tours.

While both the New Zealand and England boards have been sympathetic and issued an apology to PCB for pulling out of these tours, it will be interesting to see how Pakistan react if the third women's ODI between England and New Zealand does go ahead.

For now, NZC has stated that they are confident of finding a window for the abandoned white-ball series next year, while the ECB have also emphasized an ongoing commitment to their main touring plans to Pakistan for 2022.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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