Following the announcement of the expansion of the ICC Women’s Qualifier Americas to include Argentina and Brazil, the World Cup news continues. Cricket Bhutan announced on their Facebook page that the ICC Women’s Asia Qualifier has been tentatively scheduled for the 16-25 September 2021 and is set to be hosted in Malaysia.
As stated by Bhutan’s cricketing authority, the competition will see teams from Bhutan, Malaysia, UAE, Kuwait, China, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Nepal all compete for places at the ICC Women’s World Cup global qualifiers. However, one factor that remains unclear is how many qualification spots will be up for grabs during the competition. This is because the final number of qualification spots is still to be officially ratified and announced.
The previous ICC Women’s Qualifier Asia was held in 2019 and was the competition that started Thailand’s qualification journey to their debut appearance at the Women’s World Cup during the 2020 edition of the tournament. Thailand both hosted and won the tournament, but the tournament was extremely close as the top three teams were only separated by four points, which equated to two wins. The Nepalese team finished second in the tournament with their only loss coming against the eventual winners so will be expecting another impressive tournament.
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While Bhutan and Myanmar did not take part in the previous tournament, Cricket Bhutan’s CEO was positive about the changes of that country’s women’s team, also known as the Lady Dragons:
“We have fulfilled the ICC criteria to compete in this event and we are proud to see our name in the participant’s list. Interestingly, we will be competing against nations that we have already played before and have won against some. We have a year to prepare and the result will be based on how we prepare. I hope our women’s will be delighted to hear the news and take up this opportunity seriously.”
One interesting omission from the qualification list is Thailand, which has led some cricket fans into thinking that after their success at the World Cup that the country will go straight through to play at the global qualifiers. The changes being made to the Women’s World Cup pathway is exciting for many cricket fans as there is the hope that in time the increased competitive action will lead to both a more diverse Women’s World cup and help the development of players.
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